Many Victorian businesses are plagued by poor communication. Its not that we can’t communicate, we’re just forgetting how to!
Question – What do these four have in common?
Bottle Nosed Dolphin
Answer – they are exceptional communicators!
So where are the Humans? And why aren’t they on the list?
The reason is easy, we are simply not exceptional communicators; far from it.
I would argue that communication is the single most important aspect of society and the way it functions; it defines almost every interaction we have with every other person on the planet, yet guess what raises its treacherous, scaly head in just about every single organisational culture survey completed by employees…
So why is this happening? Why are we so incompetent in the language of communication?
Perhaps there is a clue in that very question?
Firstly, I want to clarify that ‘language’ is a system for communicating; its one of many systems within the animal kingdom and one that we have come to rely heavily upon, whilst the other forms, so well utilised by our friends (monkey, dolphin, bee, magpie) have become less relevant.
Secondly, language is a set of words, agreed to and understood by a common user group.
To successfully communicate, there needs to be a transaction, just like any other transaction we make a thousand times a day:
One party gives an item;
A second party receives an item;
Both parties agree that the item is transferred and the transaction complete.
I visit an ATM
I request an amount of money that I require
The ATM checks whether the amount requested is the amount desired
The ATM dispenses the money I requested
The ATM dispenses a receipt that confirms my request and the amount dispensed.
It seems when we apply this very simple, highly effective model to verbal communication, the model melts like a snowball in hell.
Why are we getting it wrong?
The reasons are far too many and complex to list, yet we can possibly explore some themes by revisiting our trip to the ATM:
I need some money
I give my friend my bank card because I’m too busy to go to the ATM
my friend visits the ATM
The ATM is really busy and trying to process 15 requests at the same time
my friend forgets the amount of money I want, so guesses $20
The ATM is so busy, it sees $20, interprets it as $200 and moves to the next request
The ATM doesn’t really want to give the $200 because there’s not enough in my account, but agrees anyway because its simply too busy to argue.
My friend gets the $200 from the ATM, doesn’t really know whats happened, but thinks he’s had a win.
I get $200 from my friend, tell him he’s an idiot for overdrawing my account and a week later I get a nasty letter from the Bank with a fine for the overdrawal.
not quite so simple!
This farcical example is, in rough terms, the way we communicate in our workplaces. I know you’re smiling, this is really familiar, right? its the reason we are so frustrated and overwhelmed.
Better Communities Consulting specialises in resetting the communication clock. We have the tools and experience to ensure you and your team have absolute clarity about how to effectively communicate in your workplace. Come and visit our website, apply for a free consultation and get on the road to elite communication that will put you way ahead of the pack.
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