Communication - the #1 problem and solution in business
Jeff Weiner released a survey from LinkedIn a few years ago that summarized communication as being the #1 skill that is lacking in business…this #1 skill challenge also translates into being the #1 issue in business as well. It's more prevalent today in our current crisis situation.
Communication is the connection between people, places or things…we use this EVERY SINGLE DAY…and yet it is still our #1 nemesis. Communication is in everything we do - from mobile messaging to slide decks to coffee talks and networking events. There are countless books on how to communicate in business…yet the further we advance as a civilization, the worse it seems to get.
Communication is the biggest problem that exists in business today. Businesses live and die on how we communicate day/day, quarter over quarter and beyond. Communication makes or breaks deals, build communities and in some cases completely destroys an organization.
The word communication stems from old English, French and mostly Latin - communicare which means “to share” - seems relatively simple! When we communicate, we are trying to convey meaning or exchange of information from one individual or group to another. Typically, it through the use of mutually understood languages, symbols, signs, etc. Other times…not so much.
In today’s world, we can communicate in a number of ways - face/face, written messages, calling each other or through the use of technology such as email, instant messaging or any number of services offered on the internet. The number of ways we can reach each other today is unprecedented…which makes it a continuous challenge to communicate effectively.
Given we are communicating every waking minute of our lives, the question arises "How do we continue to struggle with it?". Well, I believe it comes down two major themes. The first is the unknown unknowns. You have been shown a limited number of methods, understandings and practices to communicate but never ventured far from from early life lessons and experiences. To improve on your communications you have to be curious and recognize where you are lacking. Growth comes from studying how cultures communicate, how different work industries communicate, learning to take complex subjects and simplifying them down to a reasonable form...it's a continuous journey of exploration and continuous improvement.
The second problem associated with communication is that people are flat out lazy with it. Technology accentuates this with emojis, memes (guilty heavy user), shortcuts, acronyms and messaging slang. People do not want to take the time to put together clear, concise and effective communications; regardless of “how” it is delivered. Also there is an assumption, which is a big mistake, that whoever you’re talking to must know what you're talking about and understands your perspective 100%…which leads to immediate breakdowns in interpreting the communication.
SO...how can we improve our communication?
We need to stop and think about how we choose to communicate with someone. The world we work in demands almost an unrealistic pace of operating. I encourage you to be part of the solution in solving our communication problems - to slow down, think and use these five principles to guide you.
Explain your intent.
Be clear. Use plain language
Create single subject messaging.
KEEP IT SIMPLE. Be concise. Don't write a novel when it can be done in sentence.
Understand your audience.
Try these 5 principles in how you communicate for one week and let me know your feedback.