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You talk, I listen. Do we hear the same thing?

Today I would like to talk about communication at the work place.

During my years in the corporate world and while coaching my clients, in a friendly conversation or after formal employee opinion survey, the same issue rises to the surface: communication insufficiency.

There is so much information about communication out there, every second workshop I read or hear about is dedicated to communication skills development. There are university courses you can take on that topic.

Why communication is still one of the most common problems in the work place?

For each communication interaction there are two parties: one is transmitting the information and the other is receiving.

I think the problem is that we focus a lot on how we convey our message, but we often don’t pay enough attention to how it was received.

Every single bit of information coming towards us, first of all goes through layers of our previous experiences, biases, believes, transforming and mutating like a flu virus. What finally arrives to our conscious understanding sometimes has nothing to do with what was intended at the beginning.

This is why I don’t believe in “sent to all” emails or “communication boards” or any other one way types of communication, because the sender has no idea and control whether the information reached the intended audience or how it was interpreted.

This is what leaders of all levels have to remember. When communicating the idea to your direct reports, always make sure to ask what people heard you saying, are they looking for an alternative message in between the lines, did they understand you the way you meant it. And this is exactly what transforms any interaction into an effective communication.

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