Communication Breakdown

I have been fortunate to mentor under some “Out of This World” leaders. Their ability to guide a team from concept to completion was nothing short of legendary. Each had their own dynamic skillset that propelled them to the top of the heap, but no one skill was more prevalent among successful people than the ability to communicate. While working with them, I rarely, if ever witnessed a communication breakdown.

Actually, communication is so valuable we have: created laws to protect it, hired marketers to craft it, and elevated those that master it, like “Gary Vee” or “Tony Robbins”. Why is that? Because communication frames the roots of our societal DNA. Through this lens of great communicators, we can start to see how poor communication is costly and frustrating. The ability is innate, and it’s up to you as a person to cultivate it.

That being said…communication is difficult to master. The crux lies in its quality (particularly important for the message of safety) which on its own is a moving target. Let’s take a moment to explain. Communication has many variables, but we’ll start with the basics. Communication will always include 3 parts, a Sender, a Message, and a Receiver. Each part has a specific role to play in order to be successful. Visually, it would resemble the infographic above or the table below.

Description Sender Message Receiver
Definition Knows the intent of the message and considers “Success” a particular desired outcome. The way in which the message was conveyed.  Spoken, email, text message, etc.… The person receiving the message, with a perceived duty to interpret, and perhaps act on it.
The Explantion Frame the message in a format that the intended audience can interpret. (ENCODE) Convey a requirement to the receiver and prompt a response. Interpret the message and complete the instructions contained within (DECODE)

(Scroll sideways to view the full table on mobile).

A good communicator recognizes the variables affecting the receiver(s) and crafts the message accordingly

A good rule of thumb is to recognize values of the CEO and the custodian may be different, and as such its likely so are their goals, vernacular, and skillsets. Delivering the same message in the same fashion will likely produce dissimilar results. In short, know your intended audience, and craft the message in terms that will garner results. The additional variables come into play when you consider the audience and the potential channels of interference. A good communicator recognizes the variables affecting the receiver(s) and crafts the message accordingly.

Poor Communication Carries Penalties

While great communicators are elevated, its pretty easy to see that poor communication drives you in the opposite direction. You’d probably agree, nothing is quite as frustrating as a continuous communication breakdown. Poor communication becomes a limitation because instruction is perceived as coming from the top. If you can’t communicate clearly, you won’t have the opportunity to move up, or stay there for long.

Tired of Failed Communication? Use 3 Way Communication to Fix it.

You’ve probably heard of 2-way communication, but that still leaves a gap. Remember those mentors I mentioned earlier? I learned the concept of 3-way communication from one of the best, and this method NEVER fails when executed properly, and it works verbally, via email or text message.

1. I speak to you or provide instruction.

2. You relay the information back, and I actually listen.

3. I repeat the conversation back to you identifying our agreements/actions for you to confirm.

Try it out, I guarantee you’ll see a difference in performance, and accountability when expectations are made crystal clear in a 3-way communication format. You can read more about different types of communication here…