I work with companies large and small on a daily basis. One of the most consistent areas where things fall apart is in the most basic component of any group.
It is amazing to me that volume after volume has been written about communication and yet we continue to stink at it! People, it is very simple. Communication and collaboration go hand in hand. The object is to get a point across. Whether that is educating someone, asking for help, giving direction or any of a trillion other primitives, the SENDER wants to convey and idea or topic to the RECEIVER. It seems that in the business world, people get tied up in the delivery mechanism, the style, the timing and the perceived tone or intent far more than the message from time to time. If you want my advice on that matter, here it is:
Knock it off.
In a work setting, the goal is to get things done. Efficiency matters. While one should be cognizant of societal norms, (For example, don’t scream at someone or be overly condescending) both sides of a communication pair should be keenly focused on the following:
- WHAT – What am I trying to convey? What do I need? What do I need done?
- WHO – Who can I enlist for assistance? Who has knowledge or capability? Who should be informed?
- HOW – How can this person (these people) help?
- WHEN – Is there a timeline or any implicit or explicit cooperation that has to take place? – WHEN (and a little of HOW)
Now there is a lot that goes into effectively communicating but I think if the SENDERS of the world would focus on exactly what it is they are trying to do, things would bet a lot easier.
A note on RECEIVERS
Focus on the things that YOU need when you are a SENDER. Do not get tied up in protocol and elaborate conventions. Workflow is important and when many projects run concurrently, requests for effort need to be accounted for. Do not, however, let that STOP effort. Adjust and inform as appropriate but remember the point of communication.
What do you think? I will talk more about RECEIVERS in a subsequent post.
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