Do you think, that effective communication is easy? I don’t think so. But I always try to make an extra effort on that!
Recently I had an extensive and task demanding communication with different groups of people with different working cultures and operation modes.
The intended messages, ideas, and opinions were many and directed, at the same time, towards various different purposed and orientation groups.
The cluster of messages composed of a communication mix, including some business ideas, some ideas, some brainstorming, some legal issues, some financial affairs, and some other small details to be handle with!
Everything was OK until I found out that I had some “communication problems“. Some messages were not going across, or were received in a different (from the intended) manner and therefore I had no feedback (i.e. no communication at all).
At that moment I realize, that most people are usually communicating based on pre-designed and pre-imposed communication scripts (dictated be certain professional rules, jobs, patterns, expectations, gains, etc ) and not on the conversational (communication) flow of the moment.
The problem, was, that we had a communication failure on critical issues, as a result. Most people fall in this pitfall, without knowing that there is a problem here. And, as the old saying goes, the first thing for avoiding a trap, is to know its existence!
This experience makes me realize, that often, we rely on easily conveyed and implemented patterns of communication (patterns we have learned sometime in the past and follow through because in the past provide good results), without making the trouble of actually listening to the sayings of the other side.
How Can The Communication Problem Be Solved?
How to remedy this? There are some rules of thumps, of course but the most important thing you should take care is to be present in the now (to be there, fully present at the moment, with an empty mind or without distractions if possible in order to grasp everything the other person(s) try to communicate).
Other things you might do for a better and effective communication either in a 1 to 1 mode or to 1 to many, are:
- Be clear and precise in everything you communicate. Keep your main messages short and simple.
- Set the content and the context of the communication in a manner close to the main message of the interaction
- Keep an open mind and a relaxed attitude
- Allow room for gaps, misunderstandings, etc. and time margins/slots for remedying that.
- Keep always focus on the message you convey and clarify every message thrown to your direction, using clever questions, intelligent interruptions, colorful pauses, and other communication tricks (everything useful for the message to come or pass across)
- Change your communications strategy and tactics if you do not communicate with your intended manner
- Mind the communication gaps during a communication activity
- Develop and practice more effective communication skills and habits
- Set able time for the meeting, conversations, interaction, etc, that would provide a margin for correcting miscommunication problems.
- Put up an agenda and priorities for the meeting and stick to that. Allow flexibility only when all the major subjects have been communicating and resolved.
- Try to establish an effectively driven communication ecosystem from the start
- Always, mind the non-verbal aspects of the communication (position, intonation, etc)
- Define measurable outcomes (if possible), evaluate and monitor the results
- Listen carefully first and continue to listen carefully until everything has you prepare for are conveyed and everything the other participants have to communicate have been fully understood. That implies that:
- Everyone understand the same thing about the situation, the certain problem to be resolved, etc.
- Everyone knows what to do in relation to the situation (has his/her tasks and timetables)
- Everyone knows how to proceed to achieve the required outcome
- Everyone has agreed upon an outcome and he/she is actively engaged in achieving it (or the respected tasks he/she have assumed)
- Mind your feedback and the responses arise by your feedback while monitoring closely the reactions caused by your messages
Do you think, you can communicate more effectively? Are you prepared to change your communication ways in order to gain more clarity in your messages? Do you think you can do everything that it is possible to be a better communicator?