Ideally, communication channels should stay open between district managers (DMs) and the corporate office. This oftentimes isn’t the case, as DMs spend a lot of their time traveling and tending to the needs of their stores in their district. Therefore, DMs need to focus on getting the most value out of each engagement with their corporate offices when the opportunity presents itself.

To help DMs maintain their connection to corporate, we’ve organized a list of 5 tips to help create the most value from each engagement.

Tip 1: Aim for Clarity in Conference Calls

Conference calls are a staple for DMs on the road. If performed well, DMs and corporate can exchange valuable information quickly. However, they can also be sinkholes for productivity if communication isn’t clear.

The challenge with conference calls comes with a lack of nonverbal cues. A study conducted by Albert Mehrabian, Ph.D. found around 55% of communication occurs through body language*. As a supplement to the context lost from the lack of nonverbal cues, speak signals of agreement when information is clear, such as “Yes.” or “Understood”. If information isn’t clear, ask for more clarity on parts you weren’t sure about.

Tip 2: Leave Time at The End of Each Engagement for a Recap

Adding to the first tip, leaving time at the end for a recap on the important points of the meeting will ensure that all information is understood. This can be applied in any context, such as conference calls, emails, and in-person meetings.

It’s important to remain patient during recaps. It isn’t uncommon for participants to hear one thing and misinterpret it. Setting a routine of having a recap in the end will also encourage participants to ask more questions throughout the meetings with the intention of minimizing time spent on the recap.

Tip 3: Write Your Notes as Actions, Not Statements

Maintaining organized notes throughout the day is important for delegating tasks from corporate to store managers. Writing your notes as actions will give you more clarity on the state of the task.

For example, writing “100 pounds of paper to south location” is a great reminder of the day’s task. But there’s little indication on who, how, and why the paper will be at the south location. Instead, writing “request David to deliver 100 pounds of paper to south location” gives you more context on who you’re relying on to perform the task. Writing actions instead of statements will help align corporate expectations with the tasks delegated.

Tip 4: Keep Your Communication Flows Separated

It is easy for DMs to get swamped by emails from multiple parties in between commutes. Configure your inbox by filing emails based on their senders. Emails sent by corporate may have important information for a specific store. If you lose track of this email, you may spend more time than necessary finding the email later. This leaves DMs vulnerable to a potential loss of information.

If your mailing system doesn’t have automatic filing, but it does have a search feature, forward important emails to yourself using hashtags and keywords that describe its contents. This way you’ll be able to locate the email much easier, adding clarity to the channel.

Tip 5: Prioritize Your Mornings for Communication

DMs should always be readily available, but intentionally set their reporting and meetings for the morning. Doing so will allow them to enact the feedback received throughout the day.

Moreover, DMs are encouraged to solve challenges on their own instead of using reserved meeting time to discuss simple problems. If the DM cannot solve a problem on their own after the day is over, then they’ll have reason to ask for assistance.

Finding the right opportunities to engage with corporate can be challenging for a high-performing DM. With these 5 tips, DMs can better organize their time and increase the value of each engagement. Maintaining a routine that emphasizes clarity in communication will help DMs stay aligned with the goals of corporate, especially in moments of limited connectivity.

Square Root works closely with DMs to create comprehensive tools that add enhanced performance to their storefronts, making all of your stores perform like your best store. To learn more about Square Root’s solutions for DMs, see how our Store Relationship Management platform, CoEFFICIENT®, impacted customer retention at Nissan now.

*Albert M. “Mehrabian’s communication study”. ChangingMinds.org.