Like the concept that profit is a composite of income minus expenses I also believe that communication is the composite of sending and receiving (including checking receipt) of information.
As a scuba diver we learn a series of hand signals to cover most emergency situations. As you can imagine, if you have ever meet me that, not talking for hours on end repeatedly throughout the day becomes exhausting. Haa haaa
Until last year when Bob had a dreadful ear infection – I was about to communicate in my normal way (whether underwater or not) and speak through my mouth piece. The sound of the words would normally carry through the water and Bob can understand what I am saying. Now I am not really sure if it’s the result of damage to Bob’s ear or as the result of my talking overload but suddenly Bob could not hear or understand me.
This really became a challenge when our holiday was all about finding tiny critters (underwater creatures; tiny crabs, shrimps, octopus) that we had never seen before – often in tricky to reach locations on the coral encrusted walls or reefs. As each person saw or recognised something we would look and admire, take photographs and then turn to the next diver indicating what it was and where we saw it.
We started to master our own mimes for creatures to hilarious effect, imagine “ornate, ghost, pipefish” or “flamboyant, cuttle fish”, “sea horse” and “orang-utan crab”…
Still like under water Chinese whispers checking that the message was received was a vital part of the process.
I have just had lunch with a dear friend discussing a business debrief. As part of the process we talked about how tricky assumptions are in business. This conversation happened just four hours after I had had another conversation about the importance of putting everything in writing – to avoid confusion in contracts, project specifications or jobs.
It is all the same message coming through…. Are you communicating clearly with your customers or your team? How do you know?