Communication: The Four-Question Test


Fred Garcia provides a great four-question test that helps leaders communicate more effectively.

Fred Garcia is President of the crisis management firm Logos Consulting Group and Executive Director the Logos Institute for Crisis Management & Executive Leadership. In his book, The Power of Communication, Garcia provides a four-question test to help leaders assess the speed with which they need to address issues that impact their constituents.

In the chapter, "Speed, Focus, And The First-Mover Advantage" Garcia highlights both the pitfalls and benefits of utilizing speed, focus, and being the first to communicate a message. He offers the following questions to help leaders assess the urgency of their communication strategy:

  1. Will those who matter to us expect us to do or say something now?
  2. Are others talking about us now, shaping the perception about us, among those who matter to us? Do we have reason to believe they will be soon?
  3. Will silence be seen as indifference or as an affirmation of guilt?
  4. If we wait, will we lose the ability to control the outcome?

Garcia concludes with this:

If the answer to all of the four questions is no, then the leader should watch and wait, prepare to engage stakeholders, and then engage whenever the answer to anyone of them turns from no to yes. But as soon as the answer to any of the four questions is yes, the leader needs to overcome fear, inertia, embarrassment, or anxiety, and engage stakeholders effectively and quickly.[1]

When leaders communicate well, communicate first, and communicate continually they seize initiate and serve their constituents well.[2] Fred Garcia's The Power of Communication is a great guide to help leaders along the way.

Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence, but a false witness utters deceit. There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. - Proverbs 12:17-18 ESV


[1] Helio Fred Garcia. The Power of Communication: Skills to Build Trust, Inspire Loyalty, and Lead Effectively. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: FT Press. Pages 99-101.

[2] Garcia, The Power of Communication, page 102.