There are few topics that people globally have been talking and writing for years without saturation. Plethora of books, research papers, debates, articles. There is a compelling reason for this. Topics such as love, relationships, cooking, leadership, data science, wellness and communication always has a scope to know better and always improve because even if there may be some rules and definitions, people seem to be seeking more.
We do not need to be a keen observer to recognise every human being as unique. Unique in their set of values imbibed, upbringing, experiences, mindset, pace and intent. In this piece I will be talking about five pain points in communication. These pain points are basis my own experiences and conversations with a people who face it day in and day out, so I thought of putting it out there so that we become more aware and work towards solving these together.
Rushing | but the rush
I recall the era when Microsoft outlook was fresh and new. We used to take a moment to mark email as ‘normal’, ‘urgent’ or ‘critical’ and we also understood that not everything is life and death. These days an email, message becomes life and death, or at least seems so. The acronym ASAP has become to connote ‘now or never’! Ideally ASAP does not connote either critical or urgent. The pressure to respond is unnecessarily become so obsessive that it is evident. People have ceased to respect the corporate space (leave aside personal). Many a times I see, an email comes, the same person send a WhatsApp, then a text and then a call next morning. Most times it is some one trying to sell something, even without doing the research as to if I will be even remotely interested and barging in. Those who do not have my number will keep sending emails every two days. The problem here is, that is not called follow up. That is simply getting on someone’s nerves. The key takeaway here is – this ‘rush’ is confused at times with fast working whereas it is simply wastage of time on both sides. What works for me may not work for you.
One sided urgency | not every time
As an extension of the above point, the approach of ‘this is urgent for me, so this should be urgent for you’ does not work. Even creating urgency needs a premise and mutual respect. For e.g. there is a communiqué that needs to go out. I believe, there are situations where this may only have couple of hours at hand to release out in media. How we highlight the importance and set value driven expectations is the key to make this happen as a teamwork. From teamwork, what I accentuate is teamwork is not only internal. Even external stakeholders can be worked with team spirit. The takeaway from this point is, one sided urgency happens, but not every time.
Intent | Tone | Expectations
I would have love to take these three separately, however, in order to make this read crisp, covering as one. Some core pain points in communication is what intent is reflects in your message, the tone matters as much, and this is one piece that decides the stimulus of your relay. And of course, setting the right expectations in a respectful manner holds high significance as much as setting the context of a conversation. Here, the key takeaway is – the gap between what we say and what is understood needs to be kept in mind. And that is because as I said in the beginning, every human being is unique with different perspectives, IQ and EQ. So, double checking if your intent and message has been understood, does not harm.
We all have come across the conveyer belts at airports at some point. The task of a conveyor belt is to deliver the luggage. It is a carrying medium. Though it is up to the individual to identify and pick up their own luggage. And come what may, any person would not leave the airport without picking up their luggage. However, many times I have seen people treating communication as a conveyor belt. Take examples from mass messaging, unsolicited mailers, unexpected and weird text messages, people creating uncalled for groups on WhatsApp and twitter (yes twitter as well!). The take away from this point is recognising that content of the messaging, context and conversation happens in micro stages, so it is always good to set up the stage before the show. And yes, we all have 24 hours, it is up to how well organised we are in clarity of mind and ability to understand the potential of building stronger relationships each day.
Listening to build | Listening to respond
We all know this, talk about it and yet is one of the most difficult to perform. Both – listening to your audience before building on a message or content and listening before responding to a message is equally salient. Both could be a potential antidote to salvage a message gone wrong or construed in not the manner expected.