Confusion Signs

Communication.  It is the only way that organizations move forward, or backward for that matter.  Have you ever read an email, reacted, and then realized that you have completely misinterpreted what the other person was trying to communicate?  One word, one phrase, one icon can be interpreted based on that person’s past experience, feelings, etc.  Email’s often result in misunderstanding, conflict and angst within the organization.

We need to be careful with our written communication, so as to not offend or hurt those we are communicating with.  Here are a few tips to avoid fatal communication errors:

  • Read and re-read your messages for word choice, tone of voice and overall impact.
  • Think about what you are trying to communicate, how you are communicating it and how your message will impact those reading it?
  • Never assume, but if you do assume, assume the best.  Most people are not out to hurt you.
  • Respond, don’t react.  Be calm, cool and collected.  Don’t let emotions get the best of you in your response.
  • Slow down, don’t pass judgement or blindly accuse, you might be missing pertinent information.
  • Refuse to jump to conclusions.
  • Ask good clarifying questions.
  • Stay away from bitterness and blame.

Above all else value doing the right thing.  Pursue integrity as you communicate truth in the midst of misunderstanding.  Move toward the conflict, not away from it, and make your organization better by moving from confusion to clarity.