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On Miscommunicating

by David Brock on February 14th, 2016

We know what we want to communicate,

–it may be something we need to say to our customers to teach, engage, or convince them.

–it may be to our people, to coach and improve their ability to execute.

–it may be to our peers to drive a strategy or a change initiative.

We know what we want to communicate and we formulate the words that express what we want to communicate.

The problem is, the people we are trying to communicate to don’t know what we are trying to communicate.  All they hear or read is our words.

Our words make sense to us, because we know what they mean.

But do they make sense to those we want to hear and act on them?

We also have to be attentive to communications styles.  Each of us has a particular communication style.  It’s neither good nor bad, it is just how we process and internalize the communications we receive.

There is huge opportunity for miscommunicating when we don’t understand people’s communications styles.  We may say “Green” and all they hear is “Red.”  We may be unaware of the miscommunication.  We thought we said one thing, but the person we are communicating with heard something completely different–and is reacting to what they perceived.

Likewise, we have our own communications style, which can get in the way of connecting with customers, managers, peers.  These are filters we put on communications to us, which impact what we hear and how we behave.

Miscommunication happens all the time.  Sometimes intentionally.  Sometimes because we know what we mean, but don’t realize others can’t read our minds.  Sometimes because our styles or the style of the person we are communicating with get in our way.

Real communication and connection is much rarer–but if we are to move forward, that’s needs to be our focus.

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