Good Communication

I had a discussion with a colleague this morning about good communication and I’ve spent some time since then thinking about what exactly that is. I’m not sure that people always mean the same thing when they refer to those skills and I’d like to spend a minute or two thinking it out with you.

Does it mean “clear?” I guess in part although “you’re an idiot – fix it” to a subordinate doesn’t constitute good communication in my book. Abuse, maybe, and even though it’s pretty clear, it’s not good.

Does it mean “timely?”  Most of the time it does although often an immediate email response that’s neither thought through nor proofed carefully does more harm than good.

What about “often?”  People sometimes get labeled as good communicators because they are a constant stream.  I’m not a big believer in quantity equaling quality.

“Concise” is a term often used with respect to good communication.  I agree except when the writer hasn’t considered the audience and omits critical information.

It’s a good idea in communication to repeat back what someone has said to you to confirm you’ve understood them.  Of course, if the entirety of your communication is to spit back what others have said, where’s the value added on your part?

I guess the way I sum it all up is that good communication = good connections.  You need to listen, to interpret, to add value, and to relate your thinking in a manner which makes the most sense to the recipient.  I hope I’ve communicated that well!  What are your thoughts?  What did I miss?

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Filed under Consulting, Helpful Hints, Thinking Aloud

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