Miss Communication

By Craig Kitch

Not long ago, I held a communication workshop for a restaurant chain and asked a pretty young lady to assist me in a demonstration. As she walked to the front of the room, I announced to the group that we had just held a beauty contest and that one of the finalists was with us today. As she turned to face the group, I introduced her as Miss Communication and asked for a nice round of applause. Following the ovation, I indicated that she was obviously pretty and smart and asked why everyone was using her for a scapegoat. “You blame her for everything”, I said. When the customer is not properly served, and complains, we blame it on Miss Communication. When two departments are not working well together and the corporate office wants to know what’s wrong, the answer is often Miss Communication. While this was obviously an oddball demonstration, I got their attention and made my point. Miscommunication has become such a scapegoat that many people accept it as a viable reason for any problem.

Good communication can build an empire and poor communication can destroy one. It is such an integral part of what we do, especially in the information age, that it boggles my mind as to why most companies invest so little in teaching their people good communication skills and then holding them to a standard. The accurate sharing of information is a skill that can be learned and developed continuously.

Communication is more than talking and listening. Genuine communication requires a deep understanding of another person’s perspective. But when you take into consideration all of our biases, behavioral idiosyncrasies, unspoken emotions, personal agendas and unshared assumptions, this can seem almost impossible. The best communicators know how to read other people. They see how others interpret their behaviors, leaving them with a gut-level appreciation for the needs of their co-workers. They are then able to adapt their communication styles in a way that creates an enduring working alliance among the group.

Communication is ultimately everyone’s responsibility, but most companies would agree that managers and supervisors have the greatest responsibility for ensuring the accurate transfer of information. In my workshops, I take participants on a journey of self discovery that allows them to understand their own motives and preferences learn the behavioral differences in others and then see how different people interpret their behaviors. They then have the insight they need to alter their approach with people of various styles and become more effective in communicating with everyone around them. At the end of the day, you can blame Miss Communication, and make no headway in life, or you can take responsibility for your actions and become a person of great influence.

Source: Craig’s Blog

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