George Bernard Shaw said it best when he said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
Ever feel like that? Sure, we all have.
So what creates this illusion that makes us unwitting illusionists? Three things:
We presume to know what our audience knows. We don’t know until we analyze our audience.
We assume our audience can figure out what we are saying. They can’t unless we can figure it out first. Clear thinking is clear writing.
3. Stopping Short and Surmising
We surmise that our audience is paying attention to whatever we have to say. Not true. As the communicator it’s our job to check to make sure our intended message is received.
How do we get the communications life-blood of our company back on track? Solution. Treat it like your company’s currency. Here’s how:
Send all communications with a simple interactive note and hyperlinks. Messages like: If you cannot understand this message, click here. – here being a hyperlink to your email. As currency your message will either continue or short- out. Best to know before it short circuits more of the organization.
Send a morning riddle to all staff asking them to convert corporate jargon into plain language. Then have the staff vote on the best answer. The winner gets a reward and the version gets posted for all to see. The reward needs to be something worthwhile like a free lunch, movie passes, event passes. Before long the whole corporation will be communicating clearly. Give communications the $ value it deserves.
Lead by Example
Throughout the organization all team leaders, managers, supervisors, directors, VPs, Presidents and CEOs need to get rid of the mumo jumbo. The magic of verbose language and candied messages wears off into very poor illusions. That’s not wide-eyed wonder that’s on people’s faces – it’s the twitch of disbelief. No-one is paying attention.
Think of communication as your company’s currency and how well you’re plugged in is going to have a direct affect on the bottom line.