A wise man once said, communication makes friends; a lack of communication makes enemies. Our words have power! We all know communication is important, and yet effective communication can be a battle for individuals, teams, and organizations. Communication is the gateway to clarity, which ultimately gets the right things done.
As Alan Schaefer, Branding People Together states, “to ensure we have clarity, we must consider how we share and process information. Most of us have experienced a scenario where you have a meeting with one or several people. You have a robust, or at least what appears to be forward-moving, conversation. You break the metaphorical huddle and go running whatever plays you understand to be correct. You come back together and people are so off course that you have a twilight-zone moment of disbelief wondering, Was the other person in the same conversation as the rest of us?”
So how do you prevent your team from falling prey to the telephone game? Below are three ways to prevent miscommunication:
- Use the right format –Email? Phone? Face to face? We tend to default to email a lot! Email is best used to spread information, like recapping action items after a meeting or sharing attachments others need, NOT for in-depth communication. This means no debating, convincing or critiquing via email—save that for face-to-face communication.
- Know Yourself and Others. The more you know about yourself and those you’re communicating with, the more effective you will be. This is especially helpful with people who are wired differently than you.
- Repeat and Recap. At the end of a conversation, repeat what you heard, allowing for feedback on whether you understood the message in the way the speaker intended. You will be amazed by how many times the other person will say, “No, I didn’t mean that. I meant…” This includes recapping next steps if applicable.
The good news is, like anything else, you can build your communication skills and become a skilled communicator that’s productive and clear. You are what you repeatedly do.
Are you known as a skilled communicator?