Communicating with Clarity by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC
It’s been said that the root of most problems between people come from unmet expectations and miscommunication. Working on remedying these two issues in your relationships with professional and personal relationships will provide you with many benefits and increase your effectiveness at work and at home.
Communicating clearly and understandably is one of the most important things you can do as a business leader. When communication is clear, expectations are clear, as well, helping to ensure that work is completed as expected.
Today’s culture has conditioned us to text or email rather than call or meet with people in person. Both texting and emailing can be efficient forms of communication, but both can also be very unclear forms of communication. Both mediums make asking questions difficult, and both make it difficult to convey any sense of urgency without sounding angry. You’ll immediately find that your communication efforts are better received if you begin to use conversation over text and email when possible. Think about the communication before you decide which medium to use. If there are likely to be questions and a good deal of back and forth, conversation is best. If you are simply communicating a simple piece of information that won’t likely require interaction, email or text is appropriate.
It’s also important to learn the habit of checking for understanding. Ensuring the person really understands what you’re trying to say will help clear up expectations. Think back on miscommunications you’ve had in the past and see if you can find patterns. Maybe you tend to have miscommunications with the same person over and over. Or, maybe your miscommunications are mostly centered around one subject, such as timelines. If so, these are the first areas where checking for understanding should become a priority.
In your personal relationships, checking for understanding can be a bit trickier. In your closest relationships, such as with a spouse, it’s important to communicate often so that you each have a good understanding for the other person’s general perspective on a subject. You will both bring personal perspectives to any issue, and understanding the other person’s history on the subject is helpful to discussing it further.
Clear communication is mostly a habit, and it will take some time before you master it effectively. However, even making some of the simple changes listed here should help you to have a clearer understanding between yourself and others quickly. Keep up the effort to use the right medium, communicate regularly, and check for understanding, and you’ll find your message is getting across just the way you planned.