When I was a kid at school I used to play a game called broken telephone. In this game, you sit in a circle and one person thinks of a message they want to send around the circle. They whisper that message to the person next to them. That person then passes on that message to the next person, and so on.
The original message always seemed to change by the time it was received by the last person!
Communication is a two way street. It starts with one person having a thought they want to transfer to another person. Then there is the other person receiving the message. At both ends of the transfer, a break down can take place.
Just how did the word elephant become unicycle in that elementary school game? In the same fashion, what you are saying can also be misunderstood.
Communication is the life blood of your organization. Just like your physical body, when blood stops moving through your body bad things are about to happen.
Clear communication is necessary if we want others to understand us. The lack of good communication can breed:
Frustration takes place when your expectations are not met. If you haven’t clearly communicated what you are looking for, you probably won’t receive it.
How can I expect my wife to bring me home a bottle of Dr. Pepper if I haven’t clearly communicated it to her what I want?
Lack of Understanding:
When communication isn’t clear, it is not understood. Understanding is the point of information transfer.
Is what you are saying getting through? For the answer to be yes, the person must have understood you.
Understanding happens when the person you are communicating to is able to make use of your information.
I have misunderstood driving directions before and this has caused me to get to the wrong place, but more on this in the next point.
When communication isn’t understood, anxiety builds.
When I misunderstood the driving directions to my meeting in a city I wasn’t familiar with, it caused some anxiety! I was in the wrong place, time was running out and I would soon be late. All of this anxiety due to a simple misunderstanding.
Had I taken a few extra minutes to review the directions before I left, I would have understood where I was going.
When communication breakdown, the relationships of the people trying to communicate also breaks down. A misunderstanding can be taken as an attack or something done on purpose or out of deceit.
Generally this isn’t true, but miscommunication fuels these types of relationship break downs.
Any time you have to re-explain or re-communicate or re-anything because you didn’t properly communicate it the first time is a waste of time.
When you use time to communicate, make it worth your time and the person’s time you are sharing with.
Let me repeat something I said above. Communication is the life blood of your organization. Communication is the foundation of your relationships that allows trust, productivity and influence to build from this.
Taking time to communicate clearly is never a waste of time.