Miscommunication. The source of all conflict, or at least most of it. Have you ever wondered why what you have asked hasn’t been done properly? Or why your employees are having a hard time working as a team? Have you noticed that the vision of your organisation does not translate in every layer as you wish it would? These and other questions could be related to a simple need, effective communication.
We easily underestimate communication, we forget that this is how we relate to each other, how we influence others and also how we present ourselves to others. Communication allows people to connect and work together, by communicating what we are all about we attract others people who identify with us and the other way around.
According to the business dictionary online, communication can be defined as a “Two-way process of reaching mutual understanding, in which participants not only exchange information, news, ideas and feelings but also create and share meaning”. In an organisation it is crucial for communication to work between departments and different levels of leadership, so we would like to help you with some tips on what works best when it comes to communicating with others.
Say what you need to say
In a fast paced environment like it is the business world, communication works best when you are clear and concise about what you want. If there is something I learned during my internship is that communication is best when you go straight to the point, specially when you are talking to people who already have a lot on their plate and are taking care of many areas at a time.
The issue you are dealing with might mean the world to you, but it might be a minor detail for the person you are communicating with. Provide enough information so that the other person understands the context and the proposal or response you are giving. If needed, ask a co-worker to read your e-mail or hear your argument before you go to the actual person, and see if what you are saying is clear and makes sense. See what points you can leave aside and what points you should include for a better outcome or expression.
Say it the right way
Always be polite. No matter what you are talking about and who you are talking to, always do it in a way that places value on them. Communication mostly happens through body language, information that is useful if you are communicating face to face, but if you are using written communication it is good to be aware of the tone that is shown through the wording of your sentences.
The right message can produce a negative result and be misunderstood if it is not communicated in a way that the recipient can understand and process it. Always have in mind who you are talking to, if the message is clear and correct for you, but not for them, you are failing at communicating because you are having a one way conversation instead of an interactive process.
Use the appropriate means of communication
The right message communicated with in the right way but through the wrong channel also involves miscommunication. If you are new to the professional field, you will soon realise that there is a place for phone calls as there is one for e-mails, text messages and face-to-face conversations.
The use of one of these in the wrong context , can lead to frustration and a sense of disrespect or inappropriateness from one of the parties.
Always ask, never assume
As it may seem obvious in every day relationships, the worst enemy of communication is assumption. Assuming that someone possesses previous knowledge, assuming that something has been done or will be done, assuming that a conversation already happen or even assuming people’s opinions and attitudes towards you is the last thing you want to do in business and in life.
If you are not sure about something always ask. It would be ideal for you to pay as much attention as you can in meetings and be present in what you do so you don’t miss any information, but if you do, take the initiative to ask. It is better to humble yourself asking for help, than embarrassing yourself when making the wrong decision simply because of assumption.
Communicating effectively will have an immense impact on your organisation, it will improve relationships between the team members and it will also improve the rhythm of work by avoiding unnecessary meetings and improving the necessary ones. As time goes by mistakes will hopefully decrease or at least people will get creative in making different ones.
Tell us, how else do you think communication could be more effective? What is your experience with miscommunication?