We all have our own way of talking.
You’ve probably heard it all. Clients and agencies speak different languages. Tell a designer to do one thing and she will do another. Designers and developers are from totally different planets.
Communication is fundamentally what we do as professionals. Reaching new audiences with messages that resonate, finding just the right tone to connect–that’s our business. Yet, at times getting on the same page with our teams can seem near impossible. What gives?
Our words have different meanings.
You might agree that your organization is “innovative,” but deeper conversation might reveal that your definition of "innovative" is very different than your colleague's.
We get lost in jargon.
Every discipline has its own lingo. The more complex terminology we use the more likely we are to speak past one another.
We’re natural-born problem-solvers.
Rather than explain an issue or concern we skip to possible solutions. Lacking context, a simple piece of feedback can feel like an unwarranted attack.
So what you're saying …
The most effective way I have found to get to the heart of a comment is to use some version of “So what you’re saying …” followed by my interpretation. This simple tactic starts a dialogue that drives to the heart of the issue. “Make the logo bigger,” becomes “there are too many elements competing with the logo.” The first is a frustrating directive while the second is a challenge to resolve.
It’s far too easy for conversations to get muddled. Here are a few tips to help ensure that you and your team stay on track.
Listen like you mean it.
Listen to what is being said. Take a breath. Digest. Compose your thoughts. When you respond too quickly, it’s clear that you weren't’ actually trying to hear the other party.
Use your words.
You might be comfortable with the jargon of your trade. Most people aren't. Use plain language to share your thoughts and find connections with others.
Take it offline.
Don't waste time wrestling with the ambiguity of email and messaging. The subtleties of an actual conversation are invaluable to providing clarity.
How is your team communication? Could it be better?