First, let’s start off by acknowledging that communication is critical to…EVERYTHING! Now I’m going to show you a quick video example of something you might not think of as communication.
Now there’s probably a chance that you’re saying, I understand what the person who marked up the box was trying to indicate. But the UPS person actually opened the box to make sure, and the box is actually on the floor in the correct position. So if you’re first instinct was to ROF LOL (roll on the floor laughing out loud)…you’re with me. But in all fairness, the person who marked the box was really trying hard to communicate to the logistics people which way was acceptable to load and unload the package. Sometimes, even when you’re trying your hardest to communicate to those around you, it just doesn’t work the way you want it to.
As a business owner, manager, or employee, “quickly diagnosing and fixing communication issues can empower you to consistently deliver or receive on-time, on-point results” (E.G. Saunders). All of us can improve our communication, so here’s several types of communication issues you need to recognize.
- Too little communication
If you notice that the communication is too fast, too quick, or rushed, or if there is too much peripheral conjecture and not enough facts or pertinent information, or too little or no communication, these could all be indicators of frustration or anxiety. Too little communication can be frustrating no matter which direction it is going.
- Too much communication
In this case, you may notice that the communication is too frequent, too lengthy, or too repetitive. This type of communication can lead to annoyance, wasted time, irritation, stress, and little or no progress in accomplishing tasks or solutions. If you find yourself answering the same questions repeatedly or continuously, or sorting through mountains of irrelevant details and minor concerns, you are also battling too much and inappropriate communication.
- Miscommunication that creates frustration or misunderstanding
Sometimes you think you are communicating well with others, but you get the feeling that you aren’t being understood, or vice versa. You may also find yourself re-explaining, or worse having to redo your work, or even worse yet, doing the same work as another person due to lack of a clear understanding during the communication.
All of these issues can occur in all the various forms of communication including verbal and written, in-person, and across media (email, text, video conference, etc). The most important action if you determine you are having any of the communication issues described is to take immediate action and confront the issue. Remember the basics of communication: who, what, when, where, why, and how and specifically define each as well as the definition of ‘done’. Clearly specify not only the details of the project or subject, but also the expectations of frequency, method, and types of communication going forward. In addition, it’s always best to add another form of communication to your arsenal. Everyone understands and communications best through different methods, so it’s important that you are able to switch gears if you realize a different form would work better. For example, if you find that one of your employees never seems to understand what you’re talking about when you are face to face, try laying it out in writing or on a chart before your meeting.
Mahalo and much success,
Lorette, K. (2015). The Challenges of Business Communication. Retrieved from Small Business Chron: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/challenges-business-communication-112.html
MacLeod, K. (n.d.). HIdden Agenda [Recorded by http://incompetech.com/]. K. MacLeod. Retrieved 12 19, 2015, from http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1200102
Saunders, E. G. (2013, August 15). 3 Common Communication Challenges (and How to Handle Them). Retrieved from American Express Open Forum: https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/3-common-communication-challenges-and-how-to-handle-them/