Why Do Our Communication Systems Fail?
We tend to teach others as we have been taught. We try to send our messages to others in the styles we personally tend to prefer, which is usually visual and auditory. If a high percentage of our hourly workforce in particular is kinesthetic however, they may not be ‘listening’ to our messages.
Emotion further complicates the communication issue. If we send a message that is perceived as being negative, our listeners shut down. Their brains won’t allow that type of stuff into their memory banks. Failing to appreciate diversity also triggers a negative, message altering reaction. To make matters worse, we all perceive things differently in general, so the words mean different things to different people.
You can’t construct and deliver a perfect message, but you can take steps to increase the odds of your message getting through. What types of messages do you send? Are your messages getting through?
EXPLORE MORE: Six Sigma Team Struggles
The Daily Communication Log In
Twenty years ago, we still had to rely primarily on bulletin board postings, flyers in mailboxes, break room gossip, and face-to-face meetings to send and receive messages in our organizations. With the advent of the internet, intranets, e-mail, and social media, that all changed. Now, we seem to swinging the communication pendulum in the extreme opposite direction. If you don’t have a Facebook or Twitter account, you might not have much of a voice or be very well-informed.
It is true that texts, social media, and e-mail provide a much easier means of sending and receiving messages. This is especially true when a large group of people are involved. I think we have learned to hide behind our typed messages however. When we are only commenting to a screen, we can be bolder, express different emotions, and even say things that we might not have said in person.
This shift will correct itself in time. I look forward to the time when it does. A company intranet offers a lot of promise in terms of reaching our people and letting them reach back. Some companies have recognized this already. They provide each employee with an e-mail address and send a majority of their information out via this medium. Some are going as far as to survey their people regularly as well by using pop-ups that appear when each employee logs in each day. How are you using today’s technology to communicate?
DISCOVER MORE: Process Excellence Barriers