Recap: Clear to Be Kind—The Importance of Clarity in Communication

Clear to Be Kind—The Importance of Clarity in Communication

by Justine Sutton


On Wednesday, May 12, AWC-SB members and guests gathered via Zoom for our monthly meeting, an educational presentation by Sara Caputo, Santa Barbara workplace effectiveness coach and consultant: “Clear is Kind. Unclear is Unkind.”

Sara received her master’s degree in organizational psychology from Antioch University, and developed the nationally recognized Productivity Puzzle model. This approach helps individuals, teams, and businesses increase productivity by finding strategies and solutions that work for their brains, needs, and lives. Her work has been featured in Working Woman and Success magazines as well as on Her column, Simply 805, appears regularly in the Santa Barbara Independent.

Subtitled, “How clear communication boosts productivity and well-being in every single area of your life,” Sara’s presentation started off by asking attendees to take a blank sheet of paper and draw “a bank.” After about a minute, she asked us to hold up our drawings.

The first “a-ha moment” of the evening came when she observed that everyone drew a building housing a financial institution rather than the edge of a river. Often, when we hear what we think is a clear direction, we are often making our own set of assumptions.

Sara discussed the work of Brené Brown, author of Dare to Lead, from whom comes the title quote, “Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind,” and shared some handy tips & tricks for clear communication every day:

  • Phone calls: Ask first, ‘Do you have a minute?/Is this a good time?’
  • Emails: If no time for a complete response then, reply, ‘Yes, received, will get back to you by <time/day>.’ And stick to your word.
  • Meetings: Have purpose and agenda—every time!
  • Employee reviews: Be clear about WWW (What’s Working Well)/CBB (Could Be Better)
  • Training: Always document and communicate expectations
  • Out of the office: Are you 100% on, 100% off, or somewhere in between? Be clear!

Attendees moved into breakout rooms to share with their small group where and how in their lives they could be more clear.

The bottom-line takeaway:

Human productivity and well-being are increased when we have:

  • Clear expectations for ourselves,
  • Clear boundaries for our work lives
  • Clear language for our personal lives



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