Thorough Communication is Key for All Projects

Valeri Bocage CEO
Powerful Women International Connections

Valeri’s Story

More often than we care to admit, we believe that our message is communicated thoroughly to someone else as we hear them say, “OK got it.” We expect the person to follow-through with what we have asked of them. Then we walk away ‘assuming’ everything discussed is understood.

However, upon checking in for an updated report, we realize the person did not comprehend the action needed. Upon discovery, you are now both left dumbfounded.

The Problem

Sometimes we communicate to people what we want and believe everything is in good order. Other times, we send an email believing they will be read and fully understood. The issue at stake is the assumption. Omit assumptions and you will alleviate much miscommunication.

Story Scenario

Connie walks into Nancy’s office to see she is on the phone. Upon hanging up the receiver, Nancy acknowledges Connie who then informs about a new project. At the end of the conversation, Nancy responds with, “OK got it!”

The next week, Connie returns to Nancy’s office expecting the documented update she requested. Nancy looks surprised and says, “What update”? Now Connie is taken aback because the updated report in question was at the center of the conversation the previous week.

The Drama and Miscommunication

Connie walked into Nancy’s office without any social regard. An improved approach is to first ask, “How are you and what’s new?” Instead, she immediately began talking about the project.

Had the question been asked first, Nancy would have revealed that she was on an emergency call when Connie walked in. The family was exploring whether they should take Nancy’s dad off of a respirator.

The problem began with Connie. As she leaped into the business conversation, Nancy’s mind was elsewhere. Consequently, Nancy did not hear all that Connie said but only parts of the conversation. There was no understanding that immediate action was in order.

All Too Familiar

Have you had similar miscommunication problems? In this instance, it is likely that everyone has experienced something similar. But not everyone is motivated enough or knows how to correct the process to avoid the same in the future.

Experience Teaches

One of our members instructs parents, teachers, and students to powerfully communicate with one another. The instruction includes how to resolve conflict, and build relationships. For some, this may seem unimaginable, but Louann Tung is successfully teaching ‘the how.’ She is a former nuclear scientist dedicated to improving relationships between parents, students, and teachers, and is creating a better world in this area of life.

Louann, Livermore, CA

Each of our members dedicates themselves to change some aspect of our communities so we can learn to improve communication with each other and improve lives. Our goal is to create a peaceful, harmonious world for all of us and future generations to come.

Revised Scene – Same Characters:

The moment Nancy puts the telephone receiver down, Connie respectfully asks if she has time to talk. However, given the life-death situation of a family member, most likely Nancy suggests a different day to reconvene.

After the initial meeting, and as the conversation concludes, Connie recaps the highlights of the meeting. She asks for Nancy’s perspective too. This sales strategy gets the “buy-in” that Nancy is on the same page, and confirms she is viewed as an equal. One last step is to ask Nancy if she has any questions and verifies everything is understood.This framework for conversation helps to eliminate misunderstandings and enable the project to complete within the expected timeline.

Keys to Improve Communication:
1.Lay out expectations clearly and concisely for everyone with whom you meet.
2.Ask for questions and input for additional ideas.
3.At the end of a conversation, ask the person to verify their course of action.
4.After the meeting, send the highlights of your communication in writing.
5.Check to verify the person received the summary; and if everything is understood.
6.Should the person not be ready to discuss, ask for a date and time to talk over the phone.
7.On either side of the table, ask ‘why,” wherever appropriate to obtain a more comprehensive perspective and eliminate assumptions.

The Other Side of the Table: Own the Breakdown
•If you are working with someone and you have a breakdown let people know.
•Ask for help.
•Gain agreement on steps to be taken so that the obligation is satisfied and all parties are happy with the outcome.

Claim Your Power

Many people seem to disappear when they have personal emergencies. The person with whom they are working is left baffled, and uncertain how to move forward. At the same time, the person out of communication feels small and powerless. In this instance, everyone loses.

The better route is to claim your power and let people know that you are having problems. Explain an emergency arose that needs your attention. Provide the dates you will be away attending to the matter. Always extend the time for the ‘just in case’ scenario.

Instead of being the bad person for having to leave, you are the better person for leading the open and honest communication. The notification allows others to avoid a project calamity and, instead, Implement Plan B while you are away taking care of personal matters. Working in this way serves to provide the space you need along with preserving admiration for your professionalism. In short, life goes on, business proceeds as it should, and everyone wins.

“Thorough communication is they key to success.” ~Valeri Bocage

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