In order for work to be done, communication has to come into play in one form or another. Whether you are a solopreneur, partnership or a big business with various departments, you will have to pass on a message or be at the receiving end to consume information from another colleague or stakeholder in order to complete the process of communication to get to the end goal of completing a task.
For example, you may have to call your supplier or speak with your client or someone from a different department to get details of the job at hand. During that process of exchanging information, you may find yourself checking in with your emotions regarding a message or information you receive during that exchange. Sometimes it doesn’t have to be about the words that are being said or the actions of the person you are speaking with but rather about how you perceive what is being said and how the other person is acting.
There are managers that although are good professionals and have a lot of experience in their business’ activity, totally lack social skills, or people skills. One of them is communication. Communication is not just speaking and letting words flow out of your mouth, but an art form in itself. Whether you master it or not, reflects in the way your business goes. A great resource for managers in this area is Dale Carnegie’s resource “How to influence people and win friends”
Of course, as an employee you’ve been faced with miscommunications at the workplace already and know how much mayhem they can create. Still, one thing is certain. Miscommunications are the results of implying that the other knows what you’re thinking without making yourself clear verbally. The false assumption that someone got your message right without making yourself clear is the thing that triggers miscommunication and a series of unfortunate events afterwards.
So, what do you do to prevent yourself getting into miscommunication?
What I find works for me is to:
- Keep your calm – keeping calm can be done only in one way: don’t take it personally.
- Check with the other party your understanding of what they said by stating what you heard. This can be a great eye-opener as what they said does not always equal what you heard.
- You can say, “Just to make sure I understood your message correctly, you would like ….. and ….. to be done by ….. , would that be right?”
You see, with miscommunications someone will blow at some point, worst case scenarios we’re talking about your boss. But it could as well be your colleague or someone from another department. So, whenever you’re faced with a miscommunication situation at the workplace and you’re a collateral victim, you should never take other’s reactions personally. When everything comes out at the light and the lack of communication is unrevealed, the spirits will come down and the frustrations will deflate on their own. Taking it personally can only mean one thing: that you feel you are to blame for the situation created. But even if you were the one who miscommunicated their message it’s not the case to alter your self-esteem, but the exact opposite. To acknowledge the fact that you’ve made a mistake, learn your lesson and make sure you improve your communication skills in the nearby future.
We all make faults and this is understandable, the way we handle them draws the line between professionals and wanna-be professionals.
If you enjoyed this post or know of someone who may need to read this, please share on your favourite social media platform 🙂 and I’d love to hear your stories on any miscommunications you experienced in the workplace.