In working with organizational leaders … both collectively as a team and individually … effective communication is often involved in bridging the gap that exists between the dream of achievement and the reality of performance. The frequently asked question from one person to another after giving directions or explanations of some important issue is … “do you have any questions?”.
How many times do we hear or even say the likes of … “No. I understand”? But do we? How do we know that what one claims to understand is what the speaker wants them to understand? How do we know that we have successfully conveyed what is so clear in our head?
I read a blog post today addressing this issue and the related challenge written by Chris Forrest Harvey here. I agree with his statement that communication is” not about talking“ … rather it’s about “making sure you are understood”. And what I find is that the speaker is understood more when they accept it to be their responsibility to convey the concept, instructions, or ideas and confirm that they are understood as intended.
This area of communication comes to the surface in almost every one of our engagements. It is so time-wasting and frustrating to have conversations wherein the listener has “no questions” only to have them go down a path that is off- base. The rework that follows is costly and wasteful to the organization. If every speaker asks their listener(s) to repeat back what they have understood or if every listener will respond to what they have heard by repeating what they understand needs to be done, it provides an opportunity to clarify any aspect not conveyed or understood as success requires. It makes no difference who asks … it’s the asking that creates the magic.
Chris Harvey is right on! Effective communication is NOT about talking. It’s what we take away from what we’ve heard that makes all the difference. Why not try it in your organization at the next opportunity … today … tomorrow, and then let me know if it made a positive difference. A simple approach for simply positive results!