Think it through, plan and collaborate.

Communication is collaboration- you have to be willing to talk, exchange ideas and listen to one another. It’s the reason why a lot of organizations either succeed or don’t do as well as hoped (a prime example is the American school system). However, sometimes setting up those methods of communication can be a bit tricky and sometimes difficult.

For instance, someone might not have a cell phone or access to the internet. That just makes it all that more important to tell their coaches or teachers this, so together they can come up with a solution, or at the very least, be informed of the situation.

Maybe a baseball game just got cancelled-a well structured team not only would have players be notified by a text by their coach, but to their parents as well. If they have a facebook group, or social media outlet of some sort, they may get a post on there, allowing spectators who follow the page or group to be notified of the cancellation-perhaps they would even announce it on an intercom at school.

That’s just a small example of something that was unpredictable and in the moment, not something that players could have really known about ahead of time. Either by an unexpected cancellation, or maybe a family emergency (such as a death, or injury) these situations are bound to happen, but it’s important (when it’s appropriate and when you can) to talk to coaches, teachers, organizations and clubs you’re involved in, about unannounced absences. For the most part, they will be understanding and forgiving, and this is especially the case if you talk to them about absences in advance.

Whether it be sports, or other activities and clubs you’re in involved in, or just plain life there is bound to be conflicts. Maybe there’s a concert you’re performing in, a wedding you have to attend, an important soccer game, whatever- it conflicts. You have to make a choice between participating in one thing over the other and there is no wrong answer here- ultimately it’s your choice and sometimes it can be hard to make.

If you know there is going to be a conflict tell your club, group, coach about it AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Even months in advance if you can. and Iif you don’t know your schedule, tell them as soon asasap when the information is available. The sooner you tell them your schedule, the sooner they can be prepared for your absence and make sure other people are ready to step up if need be.

A helpful tool to use in this process is a planner or just using some sort of calendar app (many are free, like the Marshfield Planner and almost all cell phones have one!).

There’s a lot of ways players and coaches can be informed, but ultimately it’s the responsibility of you (the member) to inform your coaches, and teachers this information. However, communication is not a one way street; both parties have to be actively participating in order to effectively communicate and understand ideas.

This is essential when it comes to discussing and brainstorming. Listening is a key factor in effective communication- it’s the first step in actually obtaining information. You cannot listen if you’re talking. It is impossible to both talk and listen at the same time.

It’s important to note, however, that if you don’t understand something or what’s being discussed it is perfectly okay, and awesome to ask questions, often times it can even add to the conversation or helps the speaker out if they forgot to mention something. Just make sure they relate to the topic at hand (you know who you are).

Communicating isn’t always easy, nor is it necessarily fun, especially if you have many events, but in the long run, it won’t only help you stay organized, but also make it easier on everyone else, especially your coaches, teachers and those around you who may have a lot on their plate already.

Remember: Think it through, plan and collaborate.