Communicating is Not Just Talking
Have you ever found it difficult to get your point across? Many leaders do and miscommunication can happen on the phone, in an email or in person. Whether you are giving directions, delivering a presentation or simply leading a meeting, it is important to communicate effectively and not just talk.
Communicating effectively means that you are not only giving information. Instead, you are flexing to meet the way the other likes to receive information. The challenge with communicating is that what’s effective with one person may not work with someone else. Also, your own style of communicating may be very different from the receiver. Most people like to get their information in one of two ways, facts or ideas. The best communicators know how to include both of these preferences in their messaging.
Flexing with the Facts
Communicating with those who prefer facts means delivering the message and selecting words that meet their needs of present and past realities. The saying “It is what it is” is their mantra.
Make sure you:
- Describe the present reality
- Be factual and concrete
- Include specifics
- Build carefully and thoroughly toward conclusions
- Give practical applications
- Show how past experiences validate situation
Flexing with Ideas
Communicating with those who prefer ideas means you are describing patterns and possibilities. You are giving information and inspiring them toward the future. They are interested in “what could be”.
Be sure to:
- Orient them to future opportunities
- Be imaginative and creative with word choice
- Give patterns
- Offer possibilities for hunches
- Talk about theories
- Discuss big picture application
How to Communicate More Effectively
Start with yourself. Do you know how you like to get your information? The MBTI assessment is a great way to find out your own style of communication. Take the assessment yourself and have your team take it too. Engage a seasoned facilitator to discuss team communication patterns. You and your team must understand each other’s needs. Plan your conversations ahead of time. Always listen to the other person for word choice. Often they will let you know if they want facts versus ideas by their language. The fact people will often ask, Who? What? When? Where? The idea people will ask Why not? What could be?