Last week’s blog http://bit.ly/RxWTOk definitely caused successive waves of emotions regarding client communication and the rocky waters one can hit if misunderstood. Now this week I want to focus on the pitfalls of not being cognizant of gaps in communication with your colleagues. When life imitates art, reality reflects what had previously been expressed in that art (or literature, real life drama, etc). As I’m finding out more recently than ever, so does an experience lay the foundation for writing these blogs & learning how to do somethings better as you go along. If we’re not cognizant of what we’re conveying or implying to a colleague, we can misinterpret key points, directives and pertinent goals of a project. And that doesn’t just affect the working relationship but also goes to heart of productivity (or lack thereof) and the trust a client puts in you to get the task/project completed. And I’m sure we all know from last weeks blog how detrimental that can be!
Tomato – Tomahto?
If I say the sky is blue and you say yes, it’s Robin’s Egg, are we going to split hairs over which is accurate or engage in the debate of semantics (the meaning/interpretation of words or groups of words within a certain context commonly used in order to win some form of argument)? There’s nothing wrong with individual expression, however lapses in correct communication with your colleagues can cause not just frustration but a host of other issues. Some of which might include:
*Lack of Productivity *Missed Deadlines *Delays in the internal workflow system *Disintegration of team morale & cohesiveness *Stressful work environment
And I’m sure there is a bevy of many more. It’s an “if / then” , “cause/effect” kind of issue. Recently I had a situation where a client colleague gave me some documents and wanted them converted to another format. I thought we were on the same page, but the simple misunderstanding of “what it is vs. what I want it to be” caused longer hours, more resources and impacted the financial investment into the project. A frustrating lesson to learn but nevertheless, it’s in my handbook now!
Tone Can Be Everything
One of the valuable lessons my father instilled in me from almost birth is that it’s not just what you say but HOW you say it that makes the difference. Yes, I know you all have probably heard that a thousand times but as I was writing this blog, I thought about how that same motto holds true in business. Whether its in a meeting, over the phone or responding to an email and/or text; HOW you say something will certainly determine WHAT people hear when you speak and/or write. If your tone is biting, snippy or inpatient, that can determine the “joy” your colleague will have when needing to collaborate with you or fulfilling a directive. Body language also plays an important part here as well. A hand on the hip, an audible sigh or a rolled eye can easily cause a “in one ear & out of the other” effect.
That’s Not What I Said!
Last week I talked about the regurgitation method or otherwise known as rephrasing. When having a conversation, try to fully engage & listen to what others are saying. Then rephrase and repeat back to them what you believe were their important points. For the time it takes to do this, it will certainly be time well spent rather than going back on multiple occasions for clarification.
Not On Their Dime
If you are not concise regarding the instructions on how to complete a particular task, you might waste valuable time and have to go back for a do-over. That could also cause an unexpected financial impact on the project from the clients wallet. So it behooves us all to make sure that what we are conveying to one another is accurate such as confirming the plan of action, workflow timeframes and completion dates.
In conclusion, better communication leads to a more productive workplace, which in turn increases a company’s revenue. If the company is doing well, that means clients are happy and possibly you & your colleague(s) can enjoy the financial fruits of your labors. So let’s all try to be a little more cognizant of our colleague communication so that fruit stays ripe & abundant for both the workplace and financial harvest.