Have you ever experienced a misunderstanding over what you thought was something clearly communicated without any emotional component? Did you ever have an unexpected impact on a person to whom you were communicating and had no understanding as to why?
People refer to Communication as a skill. “Good Communication” is the further master of this skill and as we have all experienced one time or another (from the examples above) to master this skill can be very difficult.
The first concept to absorb is in “Good Communication” INTENT = IMPACT!
The speaker has an intention of what he or she wants to communicate, sends their intention in a message, and that message has an impact on the listener. When the communication is good, the intent of the person who delivers the message is the same as the impact it has on the listener. Mutual understanding of the message is confirmed; the listener summarizes back what they have heard and the speaker confirms the accuracy or provides further clarification.
For the most part, although it may feel a little cumbersome at first, if you were to follow the above process, chances are, you would certainly lessen the misunderstandings and unexpected impacts during your daily communications.
So why then is “Good Communication” so difficult?
Challenge One: Every message must first pass through the filter of the speaker’s clarity of expression and then through the listener’s ability to hear what is said.
(Opportunity #1 for Intent not to equal Impact)
Challenge Two: We don’t actually know the intentions of the people we communicate with; often times we assume/judge their intentions based on their actions which may cause their words to impact us unfavorably.
(Opportunity #2 for Intent not to equal Impact)
Challenge Three: Good intentions do not sanitize bad impact.
(“Good Communication” - INTENT must = IMPACT)
Steps Towards Solutions:
What can you do if you realize that there is a mismatch between your intent and your impact on a colleague, friend, or someone at home?
First, ask yourself some questions:
- What just occurred?
- How is the outcome different from what I intended/expected?
- Where can I take responsibility?
- How do I clean this up?
Second, take action to clean up mismatches of intent and impact as quickly as you can:
- Be honest about your intention.
- Discuss with the other person, their perspective.
- How could you have handled the communication differently?
- Take responsibility for your actions.
Things to Remember/Action Steps:
• “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
• As you communicate with others on a day-to-day basis, strive for Good Communication. Pay attention to the signs that there may be a mismatch between your intent and your impact on a colleague, friend, or someone at home and take immediate action.
Serial entrepreneur Richard Magid is a certified facilitator, business coach and president of Boonton, NJ-based SoundBoard Consulting Group, LLC. Through services and programs that support personal, professional and organizational growth, SoundBoard helps its clients define, develop and apply the skills necessary for building stronger, more profitable businesses and achieving greater personal success. To reach Richard Magid call(973) 334-6222 ext. 102 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.