You have a vision for your business, your team, and your day-to-day workflow. But the more people who are added to the mix, the more likely misunderstandings will happen. No matter how hard you try, things still get lost in translation. It costs time, money, and momentum. Maybe we’re not as good at communicating as we thought. Does communication really have to be that hard?
The truth is, it doesn’t. You can make sure the people around you get the right message the first time—every time. How? By avoiding what’s causing the issue in the first place. Most communication breakdowns can be traced back to one of three things:
1. No communication
This is communication that is unclear because it isn’t expressed. Sometimes we think we communicated something, but then our team’s confusion tells us otherwise. Thinking about communicating and actually doing it are different things. Maybe you have important information just rattling around in your head that could affect the outcome of a project, but you don’t get around to telling your team. Everything becomes muddy, and no resolutions are ultimately met. The solution is to take ownership of your communication.
2. Garbled communication
This is communication that’s expressed but unclear. It’s too vague to really be understood. If people have to guess at the meaning, the communication probably falls into this category. This usually boils down to a lack of clarity in your own mind. This is also one of the main reasons that delegation fails. The people around you can’t give you what you want if you don’t know what that is. You have to be explicit and precise if you want predictable results. Otherwise, people will act on their own interpretation, intuition, or best guess. The solution is to get clear on your own thinking before you communicate with others.
3. Implied communication
This is communication that is expressed but perhaps not fully, and so it is only clear to you and not others. You’re left frustrated, because people don’t respond as you’d like. Often, there’s a gap between what you think you’re communicating and what the people around you understand, because they don’t have the baseline understanding that you already do. You think they should know what you want since it’s so clear to you, but they don’t. It might feel tedious, but you need to spell things out. The solution is to overcommunicate.
You can communicate clearly every time by making your communication explicit and precise. And to arrive there, you need to avoid these three communication fails. Thankfully, good communication is a skill anyone can learn. Use every day as an opportunity to practice and hone your skills. Little by little, your communication will get better. And not only will communication be cleared up, but you’ll gain further clarity about what you want for your business, your team, and your role.
What’s the biggest challenge you fall into when trying to communicate?
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