4 steps to Avoid Communication Breakdown

How are you doing today with your Communication Strategy? What progress have you made with the two tips provided to support you in avoiding a communication breakdown?

Yesterday we covered some good points on things that get us into communication breakdown. We also addressed 2 of the 4 strategies to help in avoiding a breakdown all together. So today, not only will we finish the conversation around the 4 tips, we will dig deeper on ways that two-sided communication works best.

Much has been written about how people communicate. There are books, courses, online seminars and teleseminars on the subject for personal and business communication. So, with all the information available to help us, why do so many people struggle and complain that communication is the #1 issue at work and home?

A bottom-line answer might be – People Don’t Listen.

In our effort to be more clear, to have more engaging conversations, many people have stopped listening to each other. They are busy spewing words of discontent, frustration or blame all the time ignoring what the other person on the end is saying. Both people throw their hands up and walk away feeling broke, busted and disgusted with the encounter.

The next time, try engaging in a listening exercise. Start with saying ‘Here is what I heard you say,’ and wait to see if you are on point or missed the mark. Remove the emotion from the equation and just allow the words to tell the story. You will be surprised at what the words tell you.

Try applying these next 2 steps (3 and 4) in the communication process. They will not only help you in saying what you need, but support you in hearing what needs to be heard.

3) Ask for what you Want – We have all heard the expression Assume nothing, it only makes an A_ _ out of U and Me. Well, with communication that is typically spot on. When we make assumptions that the other person understands, knows what we need or gets what we are saying, 9 times out of 10 we get in trouble. That is because we are leaving a lot to chance or often filling in the blanks instead of stating what we want or need. In your next communication challenge, try stating clearly your intention, right upfront. Bottom-line your need and be open to listening to the other person. If you don’t ask for what you want/need, no one else will either.

4) Be willing to say ‘I am Sorry’ - Perhaps the most powerful word in the dictionary (in my opinion) ‘Sorry.’ And perhaps the most misused word in the world, sorry. That powerful word can be used to build up and to tear down if not used carefully. It is amazing that so many people don’t know how to use it or use it with care. It is not a word to hold us in a victim mode, nor is it to be used freely in every other sentence. It is a word that when reserved for those moments in time when we truly have missed the mark, erred in judgment or mistreated another person. It also has the power to heal and restore quicker than anything else. If only people really knew how to use it and use it well our teams, families and world would be a better place.

With communication it is quite simple, always remain open to the possibility that you may have made a mistake and be willing to say so. Then ask for what you want, use your I words that support your refined motive as you listen with a heart to know more.

And remember, communication is a two-way street. There is the sender and receiver and they have shared responsibility and access to the collective success.

Coaching Question: What one step will you begin to apply today to support your communication success tomorrow?