The Webster Dictionary defines communication as “a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior”, which leaves out a key component – perception. If we add generational gaps, cultural differences, and technology into the communication blender, we have a puree of context that is easily misconstrued by the receiver and, if then conveyed to others, starts a massive round of the telephone game. For those unfamiliar with the telephone game, the message comes out completely different as it is passed along from one person to another.
The question I continue to ask myself is can we over communicate? Communication has evolved into many forms over the years and as a result of technology and social media, some of us feel we are learning another language at times. Regardless, there is a fundamental goal to any form of communication – that is, to convey a message. If the message we convey is understood and interpreted as intended, then we have accomplished our goal. We must remember that communication is a two-way transaction and we can only control the way we deliver a message, not the way it is received. Refining the delivery of our messages takes observation and patience. Many of us learn through repetition, meaning the more we communicate, the more we improve. However, if the connotation of the information conveyed is misunderstood or you have not considered the audience, then the message will be lost in translation. In this instance, you can continue to convey the same information in varying degrees and never get your point across.
A former colleague of mine told me several years ago that the key to having an intelligent conversation with someone in a different field of practice dwells in the ability to speak their language. Know your audience. Think about implementing a software solution as an example. The users are more concerned with impacts on business process, where they can find their information in the new system, and how they will be able to report on it; whereas, the technical team is more concerned with getting the data into the system, how it is stored in the system and the on-going maintenance. Although there is a common goal, the means to getting there requires different conversations with each stakeholder. Ensuring that communication is taking place with the appropriate people is critical, as it involves setting expectations with those individuals. Effectively identifying needs, addressing concerns, and creating an environment for open communication and collaboration are required for the success of any project. Understanding these key items involves more than just delivering your message, it also requires that you receive messages from others.
Here’s where the question of over communication re-surfaces… At EBUSINESS STRATEGIES, we partner with our clients to ensure there is constant communication and transparency of the project status and tasks, with a focus on establishing expectations and holding each other accountable to ensure project fruition. Does this sound like over communication to you? To me, it sounds like TEAMWORK!