Thursday, March 10, 2016

Building Blocks to Effective Communication: Relationships and Trust

There is no denying that effective communication is a major tool for the overall effectiveness of any institution. Communication goes hand in hand with building relationships and trust. Without these three entities in place, any organization will surely crumble.

In my roles as elementary school principal and district Elementary Curriculum Coordinator, it is very important to me that word gets out about certain happenings at school or within the district. This could be communicating with my teachers, support staff, parents, or the even the entire community. The more word gets out about something that’s going on, the more support we all have.

I love using Remind as my first tool for communicating with not only my teachers and staff members, but my parent community as well. Having every child’s parent connected with a quick text has been very beneficial in creating an open dialogue. What is great about this form of communication is that you save money by eliminating the paper products sent home, stay up with the times in the use of technology, and—most importantly—set up a direct line of communication with parents without using the child as a “middleman.”

Communication is a two-way street. Getting feedback from your parents and your community is just as important as giving them information. For parents, communicating with you or your school on social media, on Remind, or through a blog should be just as easy as sending a simple email or making a phone call. Together, these paths for communication create an effective avenue for building relationships. The more that the stakeholders of an entity are given a say, know their feedback is appreciated, and feel like they have an active role, the more trust your community will foster.

The more we communicate, the more we continue to strive to make everyone a part of our learning environment. In a school setting, parents want to be notified about what’s happening at school, especially when it pertains to their child. This includes positive observations as well as information about the school or student that can be concerning. There are so many instances where I can remember saying to myself, “Wow, I’m glad I made that phone call.” Or, “I’m glad I sent that text.”

Communicating effectively has allowed me to build a strong network with the parents and students of my school. I often now hear parents say, “Thanks for sending that text.” Every time I hear that, it makes me feel like a better communicator—and better leader. My belief as a leader is that you can never over-communicate basic information and “good happenings.” The more we do this, the stronger the buy-in will be both in and out of the school setting.

The better we communicate, the more effective we become. In a school setting, effective communication is what helps us strengthen relationships, and in the end, the trust that helps an organization succeed.

Michael M. Domagalski
East China School District
Elementary Curriculum Coordinator
Palms Elementary School, Principal

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