If you have ever read resumes or visited LinkedIn pages you have seen this phrase: “Exceptional at oral and written communication”. What exactly does that mean? I had a meeting with a man once who said, “I am a great communicator. I ALWAYS say exactly what I mean. I can’t help it if people don’t understand me.” I don’t know what you think, but to me that sounds like someone who is awful at communication. But I bet his LinkedIn profile says differently.
What about the person who believes they are good at reading between the lines to get at what people really mean but instead just end up taking things out of context? That person believes she is a great communicator.
Communication is an absolute necessity of the human condition. We have more ways than ever to get in touch with one another, phone, fax, email, IM, DM, text, Facebook post, tweet, Pinterest, and yes you can still mail a letter. If everyone is so good at communication and we have so many ways to communicate with each other why is there SO much miscommunication?
The evidence says we actually aren’t that good at it. Sure, we all know how to talk. For the most part we master that by the time we are five years old. From there it is just a matter of expanding our vocabulary. But where do we learn the art of communication? How do we come to understand how to make sure someone knows we heard them? Are there lessons in grade school that teach us to recognize when what we said is not what the other person heard? From what I can tell everyone is involved in communication by trial and error. And I think there is a lot more error than there needs to be.
Here are a few of the success tips I give when I speak boiled down into bullet points:
- Tell me what you need so I can help you get it.
- You can’t hold someone accountable to provide something you haven’t told them you need.
- Stop assuming and start asking questions.
- Men and Women have different communication DNA – understand it and great things will happen
- Address disagreements when they are small. Don’t wait until they explode.
So who has the motivation to deal with the swirling mess of miscommunication? Anyone who wants to have a successful business, climb the corporate ladder, make more money, have happier relationships, raise better adjusted children, stop bullying, leave a legacy or just have less frustration in their lives. Do you see yourself in any of those?
What are you doing to avoid communication ‘accidents’? Don’t assume you are good at communication just because you can talk.
But wait let me guess, you are a better than average driver and excellent at communication.
If you recognize the power of effective communication and would like a speaker for your group or some personal coaching let’s start a conversation to make it happen. There is no time like the present.