Message Received… or so we Think…

Communication is key for any business and any business relationship, well any relationship really. But are we good communicators or at least are we consistently good communicators? The only person who can truly answer that is the person receiving the message – in that moment did we communicate well? And when communicating with more than one person at the same time it makes it harder to communicate well with everyone.

If we’re communicating with the same people on a regular basis we learn the best way to communicate with them and for them, how they learn and how they take on information but if we don’t have that luxury we have to cover off all the permutations each time.

In fact you could say that all communication is a bit like sending an email… we assume that because the email shows in our outbox it’s been received but in reality we have neither absolute certainty that it was received yet alone read and as for being fully understood… well that’s a whole different ball game.

So how can we make sure the message has been received?

  • When you talk to people pay attention to the words they use for example ‘I see what you mean’ or ‘if I’ve heard you correctly’. We all have one primary, or dominant, mode for communicating and taking on information – visual, auditory or kinaesthetic and we give this away using these types of phrases.
  • Why is looking out for those phrases important? Well, they’ve just told you the best way to communicate with them. A visual person will need to have a picture painted for them in the words used but preferably diagrams and images that explain something or act as a guide.
  • An auditory person won’t be able to give you their full attention if you’re talking and at the same time showing them a very bust slide or using lots of images that don’t have any explanation.
  • A kinaesthetic person likes to have something to touch or hold and so giving them a copy of the document or presentation you’re referring to makes a difference, even if you ask them not to look it whilst you’re talking.
  • So it’s really important that not only is your message clear, structured, and coherent but that you also take into account the different ways people take on information.
When we take these modalities into account and adapt how we communicate with people it means our message is more likely to be received and understood. But that’s only the start…