Communication problems can create a lot of unnecessary drama. How often have you been disappointed because your assistant didn't meet a deadline? Or what about the times you signed off on something and you got yourself entwined in more than you could have possibly imagined? Have you ever beat yourself up for being scattered and all over the place? What about those times you have been asked to do something from your own boss but you were overwhelmed trying to decipher where to find the document or in what order to begin? Whether you are on the giving or receiving end, these eight tips will help you clear up your business communication.

Define the end result
Stephen Covey’s advice in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People still stands: Begin with the end in mind. Before giving out the details of a task or list of objectives, make sure you define the end result first, and then make you know how to articulate the goal.

Do Due Diligence
Before jumping off of a cliff with a new idea, make sure you know what is required to get the job done. How much time, what kind of resources, what kind of expense is expected? Here’s an example of how to communicate with your team in advance: “Before we begin this project, please let me know the degree of difficulty, by these criteria: How long will it take, what is the hourly expense, and who is going to be responsible?" Then if it takes longer than you thought, it’s more expensive, or there is no one with the knowledge, now you can design plan B, or shift your expectations.

Define your Verbs
When you say “I’m going to finish the proposal,” the listener does not know what the word “finish” means. Say instead, “I will finish the proposal by adding the estimated expenses, and start date, then I’ll fax it to the customer, before April 12th, 2011.” Now we all understand what “complete” means.

Get Specific
Add the day, date and time in your written communications. In other words, instead of saying could you speak at your chapter meeting tomorrow, or next Thursday, instead, say, “are you available to speak at our chapter meeting on Thursday, April 12th, at 1:00 pm?” Making sure you include the day, date and time ensures accuracy and understanding.

Organize your Thoughts
Before you give instructions, make sure you have your thoughts organized. Unless your intention is to brainstorm, make sure you are clear about what you want to happen, who is going to be in charge, and how you want to be reported to, what resources you have available, and the deadline for completion, otherwise you will waste lots of time and confuse the people working with you.

Make it Easy
What can you do to make your electronic communication easy? When you are referring to a document or some piece of information you want your employee or client to look at, either add a link to direct them right to the document, or add the document as an attachment so there is no confusion about what you are referring to.

Set a Deadline
If you assign a task without a deadline it gets stuck in eternity on the “to do” list. Make sure when you communicate your tasks to your employees you add a deadline that includes a date and a time. If the initial conversation was on the phone, send out a brief confirmation by e-mail with the date and time. Then, schedule a follow up auto-responder message two days before, to send out a reminder.

Set up Accountability
Develop a system to ensure that what you said is what was understood. One way is to ask the person you spoke with to repeat back to you what you just assigned. Another way is to schedule short updates through e-mail, telephone or in person meetings, depending upon your preference and situation.

Author's Bio: 

Ready to Stop Workplace Drama? Marlene Chism, author of Stop Workplace Drama , invites you to learn more about her new book and Stop Your Drama Methodology , eight principles to help leaders gain clarity and reduce workplace drama. Receive free gifts for stopping by during Stop Your Drama Month.