Avoiding Pitfalls Which Breakdown Communication
Currently, our stress, feeling of being overwhelmed, and uncertainty can carry over into what we say and write to others, breaking down communication. Specifically, we can forgo formalities, become more pointed and direct, rush through conversations, and convey a tone and connotation we do not intend. Three (3) simple things which WILL help overcome this and keep our communication effective and collaborative; rather than being a detriment and an additional challenge to overcome, are listed below.
- Calmness – Calming our minds and body before speaking to someone or writing an email/text/direct message WILL help us communicate more effectively. Taking deep breaths, petting a pet, looking at something our child created (i.e., a drawing, Lego village, macaroni necklace, etc.) are common easy ways of doing this. The key is to do something that inherently creates calmness and/or happiness for us.
- Basic Needs – Being hangry is real! So is thirst and a need to use the restroom. Ensuring we fulfill our basic needs for food, water, and use of the restroom before communicating WILL lessen distractions that take away from communicating effectively.
- Pause – Before hitting send or saying something, asking ourselves: “Will I regret sending/saying this later?” WILL help us communicate effectively through perspective. Specifically, am I saying the right thing in the right way or are my stress and emotions getting the best of my communication and putting out something I will regret because it will not actually help anything. Pausing a moment and asking the aforementioned question will give us the time and space we need to revamp our communication to be effective.
Ensuring All Parties Clearly Understand
While the way we work has changed rapidly, our milestones, sales numbers, and what is expected of us have not. Feeling pressured to still hit our targets and bring our projects and deals to a close creates the perfect circumstance to rush communication and overlook details that are needed to be conveyed. Three (3) simple things which WILL create clarity and ensure understanding of our communication are listed below.
- Uniqueness – Each one of us has a unique way of communicating, pre-conceived notions of what words mean to us, and ways of conveying the meaning we intend to get across. Taking a moment to recognize the way in which we communicate and they way in which the person(s) we are communicating with before entering into a conversation or writing an email/text/direct message WILL help set the conversation up for clarity and success.
- Observe & Ask – Approximately 60% to 65% of our communication is non-verbal. When we see a gesture, head movement, or body movement that gives us reason to expect what we are seeing is unclear, we can stop and ask if what we are trying to get across is actually being conveyed in the way we are intending. Checking-in with the other person(s) WILL ensure we are communicating clearly.
- Summarize & Confirm – If we are feeling uncertain of what is being asked of us, we can always repeat information back to the person(s) we are talking to. Summarizing what we heard and asking for confirmation of our understand WILL ensure clarity for all parties communicating. This also works just as well over email, text messages, and direct messages. We can write back what we understand to confirm that understanding.