Yes… This is a tired topic. But since we’ll talk about the importance of communicating effectively there is nothing more appropriate than to kick off with a title that doesn’t leave room for miscomprehension.
We believe that’s the foundation for assertive communication, in business meetings or among family and friends. You can only communicate well if you are also able to comprehend others.
A tiny misunderstanding can become a huge mess.
As the story goes, the CEO communicated to the manager:
“Today at 11 o’clock there will be a total eclipse of the sun. This is when the sun disappears behind the moon for 2 minutes. As this is something that cannot be seen every day, time will be allowed for employees to view the eclipse in the parking lot. Staff should meet in the lot at ten to eleven, when I will deliver a short speech introducing the eclipse, and giving some background information. Safety goggles will be made available at a small cost.”
When the memo was passed along, the manager told the department head:
“Today at ten to eleven, all staff should meet in the car park. This will be followed by a total eclipse of the sun, which will appear for 2 minutes. For a moderate cost, they will be made safe with goggles. The CEO will deliver a short speech beforehand to give us all some information. This is not something that can be seen everyday.”
And so the memo was transmitted for the organization’s lower levels. When it finally put in the message board, the memo said:
“Some staff will go to the car park today to see the CEO disappear. It is a pity this doesn’t happen everyday.”
Lesson: The CEO managed to correctly communicate what would happen at the company that day but the employees insisted on understanding what was convenient to them.
How can I communicate effectively?
In a business meeting or in any other situation where we need to sell ourselves, chances are we don’t pay attention to what other people say most of the time. That happens because we are too focused on saying what we are capable of doing and on what we can offer. Changing this is not as simple as it might seem but we can give you some tips:
1. Recording is the best method for recapping everything that has been said in a meeting. When listening to it afterward, it will become clear to you that sometimes we insist on not understanding the message the interlocutor is trying to convey. As mentioned before, that happens because we are focused on what we are going to say next.
2. If you don’t own a voice recorder or if you believe using it might be embarrassing, taking notes is a great option. Despite all tech gadgets available out there, you can always rely on a notebook to help you keep track of what was discussed on a meeting.
3. There’s no harm in asking. If you took notes and even so have questions, the best thing to do is to make a phone call or schedule a second meeting. It is always better to ask than to be hesitant and uncertain before a client.
Easy steps like these can help you get a solid grasp of what is being communicated to you.