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Stop Losing to Poor Communication

Just now, you delivered crucially important, timely instructions — again.
But saying it doesn’t mean the message you intended got through.
How can you be sure that your message gets through in your everyday interactions?

Multiply the number of employees in your business by $12,506.  The product is what research estimates you lose every year due to poor workplace communication.  This amounts to an estimated annual loss of $1.2 trillion among US businesses every year.  Business leaders estimate the loss of one full workday per week due to poor communication. *

***Click here to listen to this article through our Discover Your True Course Podcast channel.

At True Course, we regularly work with people who learned to communicate through trial and error and hard knocks. They assumed they could communicate satisfactorily, but changes in society and their business leave them struggling too frequently to say the right thing at the right time to achieve their desired outcome.

Contact us today to learn about individual and team coaching and training that can increase communication effectiveness in your workplace.

Here are a few general principles that can help you reduce those losses to poor interpersonal communication in your business.

  1. Assume that people need to learn how to communicate clearly and effectively. Train for emotional intelligence, assertiveness, and other soft skills that will enhance communication in your business.
  2. Stop assuming people understand or even receive/hear what you say. Check to determine what they heard, especially the main point(s). True Course teaches some masterful ways of doing this that won’t make you seem arrogant or patronizing.  I am frequently surprised by what people think I said.
  3. Be sure you are speaking the same language. Even if you and the receiver of your communication speak the same native language, terms mean different things to different people. Be sure to define terms that may be misunderstood. If you are unsure, check with the receiver about what they believe the term means.
  4. Establish and preserve psychological safety. Create a calm, rational environment that invites openness, candor, and vulnerability, where people feel comfortable being themselves, expressing their thoughts, and admitting their mistakes. If you don’t do this, accurate, productive communication becomes impossible. Here’s why.
  5. Clarify your intentions for the conversation. Let your conversation partner know what you intend and don’t intend, what you want and don’t want from the conversation.  This helps with psychological safety.
  6. Inquire more, and advocate less. In most instances of communication, we are trying to “tell” another person something, not necessarily hear what they are thinking.  Use more questions. A two-way dialog will take more time, but the time you spend gaining clarity will be cheaper than the losses you are currently experiencing.
  7. Listen patiently and avoid thinking of the next thing you want to say. Don’t interrupt and once the person stops speaking count to 3 before speaking again.
  8. Use the most advantageous channels. You can use email or text if your message is short, unemotional, and involves only maintenance communication. If your message is emotional or more than maintenance, use the phone or face-to-face meetings to ensure your desired outcome.  Your words are only 7% of the communication. The rest is visual and auditory, body language and voice (tone, volume, pitch, etc.)
  9. Use “sense of self,” reflecting to the other person what you sense may be happening in their voice and body language. What you sense is happening may or may not be accurate, but expressing it can open communication to new depths.
  10. Use team coaching to help your team communicate in an increasingly effective way.

Let’s visit more about email/text etiquette, the challenges of your inbox, and the pressure of response time. Contact us today.

*According to a survey of 251 business leaders and 1,001 knowledge workers conducted by Harris Poll commissioned by Grammarly.  Download the report here

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