What did you say?

This past week communication was top of mind.  Not only did I read the book Conversations Worth Having but there were quite a few client and family conversations that left me wondering "what did they say?"  

These conversations led to a heightened awareness of how I’m interacting with the people around me and what I can do to have better communication and conversations.  

At its most basic level, communication is the exchange of thoughts, information, ideas and messages between people and groups.  And over the past few weeks I’ve noticed how often the transmission of what is in someone’s head does not quite make it to the other person as it is intended.

Some of the things I’ve noticed:

It’s not always easy to stay focused on the message

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and they pause and say “Now where was I going with this?”  After some forensic diagnosis -- “We were talking about…” “And then…” -- you finally remember where they were going and the conversation resumes.  

Staying focused on the message creates clear communication and help get the point across.  

As the listener, your role is to focus not only the words being used but also the intent, context, and tone to create mutual understanding.  

If action is necessary from the conversation, making it as clear as possible will ensure it gets done.  And it’s up to everyone to be clear on what, when, where, and who.  

Keep the message simple 

We are all busy and have information overload so when you’re communicating, cut through the emotions, “couching,” and hyperbole and get to the point.  When you’re able to communicate without the noise and repetition, the message become easy to digest and, if needed, actionable.   

It’s only a dialogue if everyone contributes

All parties have a role in clear, concise communication.  It’s not just the person initiating the conversation. We’ve all heard that we should listen more than we talk.  In a conversation, it’s important to create opportunities to ask questions, clarify terms, and confirm actions.  

When we pause in our conversation and ask questions, we’re opening up a free flow of ideas, topics, and meaning.  Allowing time for the questions to unfold is critical to a conversation.  

Old patterns are hard to break

We all have patterns of conversations that we fall back on at times.  One of the ways to break unwanted patterns and habits of communication is to look for the things you agree on instead of looking for points of contention.  Appreciating the relationship you have with the other person and what they bring to the table may steer the conversation in a different direction.

As a business owner, clear, concise communication is critical to leading, managing, and growing your business.  Understand what your goals are in communicating, stay focused on the message, and keep it simple.  

Recognize your communication habits and, if needed, change how you typically approach conversations.  If you need help recognizing your communication patterns or getting ideas on how you can get better results by changing not only what you are saying but how you’re saying it, SCHEDULE A CALL.

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