Are you ever puzzled that some people think that they communicate well when they are ambiguous at best? Some leaders leave a lot unsaid and yet still expect their people to know what they didn’t say.
The challenge with this is that these people don’t even realize that they’re not verbalizing their thoughts. They may think they have, but they haven’t.
Clear communication is one of the issues that leaders struggle with constantly. Even when you do it well, often you need to repeat it, say it differently, or ask people to repeat it back in their words so that you know that you’re on the same page.
It isn’t that the entire world suffers from ADHD (even though sometimes it might seem that way); the basic ways that we read, write, speak and listen have changed. Attention spans have shortened significantly and communication has abbreviated.
When people are in a hurry, they tend to unconsciously take shortcuts in their communication. When this happens, the messenger often doesn’t remember what was verbalized versus what she simply thought.
Here’s another example: like many people, you probably spend a lot of time in front of screens as you’re doing right now. People don’t read on screen; they scan. And simply put, you don’t get the same comprehension from scanning.
How does scanning affect the messages that you convey verbally? You’re absorbing a partial message, and as a result, you have even more of a tendency to speak in shorthand.
And that brings us back to the main point, which is to be critically mindful of how people receive your message, especially in this world laden with distractions. Even if you think you couldn’t be clearer, don’t assume that people heard you the way that you intended and expected.
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