Before you can truly get to clear communication, you need to have clear thinking.
Neither of these “just happens” because you want it to. Generally, neither of these comes complete “right out of the box”. Our society and education system do not directly reward clear thought or effective communication. An excellent education teaches you how to think, not necessarily what to think, or what bits to repeat back when asked on a test. Learning to communicate clearly can’t take place outside an environment where you can, or need, to communicate. Being around others and learning the basics is a start, but the real learning takes place when you have to express an idea or story to someone who doesn’t have the same background or beliefs you do. This makes you shelve your assumptions. Then you have to make sure that the words and phrases you use are understood the way you use them.
This is very, very hard to do.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We all want things to be easy. And it’s not just business, American or Western Society that defaults to easy. While I still worked at Microsoft, one of my managers got our entire team “Easy Buttons.” You pressed the Big Red Button and a voice said, “That Was Easy!”
We have a few things working against us:
- The problems and challenges we face today (business, societal and personal) are complex with no simple answers. The kind of effort required to tackle them can’t be splintered into micro-moments of attention (better known as “multi-tasking”…). We need big blocks of time, and lots of them, to work through these things.
- Our culture prizes Fast, Immediate, Responsive, 24/7/365 over taking the time to gain the ability to learn hard things more quickly and produce at an elite level (so we move past “good enough” to “WOW!”).
- The difficulty of measuring the complex over the simple (an example – “audience engagement” versus a Facebook page “Like”).
- The tendency to answer a simpler question when confronted with a difficult one (more on that shortly…).
As business owners and entrepreneurs, what does this mean?