Failure To Communicate
More than once in my life, I’ve found myself in a situation that was caused by a failure to communicate well. When most people (or companies) think about communication, they only think about using words to tell a message.
Think about your own life and remember a time when a problem, error or disagreement occurred because both parties interpreted a communication differently. It can be as simple as a disagreement or mix-up between spouses over groceries or a night out. It can be as big as a company giving the wrong message to employees or a sales person losing a large opportunity. Even worse, world leaders giving a message that is not well received by another country.
So, how do we prevent Failure To Communicate problems?
- Slow down. Before you deliver a message, write it down and read it aloud.
- When crafting your message, think of the other person and how your message will affect him or her. Instead of a company telling its employees, “We are cutting lunch time from 1 hour to 30 minutes — the end.”, they should consider a better message, such as, “As many of our team members know, we’ve been fortunate to experience a rise in business. To assist in fulfilling these orders without asking more time of our employees, we are asking everyone to take a shorter lunch break. This change is expected to be in affect for the next 3 months. While it is a trade off, the benefit in the long run will be increased sales and more opportunities for our team members. Thank you for supporting our company and this decision.”.
- Consider using a story. Adults are more likely to remember a message if it’s tied with a memorable story or event.
- Make sure the other person received your message and give him or her the opportunity to respond or ask questions. For example, afterwards, ask, “Did I communicate that well? Do you have any questions?”.
- Follow-up. Everyone is busy and has a full plate of tasks and activities. Make sure to follow-up with reminders, even for those small things, like a quick text message, “Hey, honey. I’m heading to the grocery store. Was there anything else you needed?”.
Communication is always extremely important and often fails. By taking a few extra steps, you can ensure a more effective delivery of your message and avoid potential problems, lost sales or hurt feelings.