But that’s what the sign said to me when I read it.
That doesn’t make me dumb. Nor does it make the sign’s author stupid.
We simply were not communicating.
Communication—it’s a problem … everywhere.
This scene has played out many times in my 29 years of training:
When I ask, “What’s the biggest problem facing your organization today?” the answer usually is … communication! Yet the problem is often framed as an Incorrect Question (IQ/QBQ! tutorial) such as, “Why don’t they communicate better?”
As if lousy or no communication is … someone else’s fault!? Can you imagine engaging in blame like that!? 🙂
Everything would be so much better if each of us practiced personal accountability for making communication happen. It begins with me asking The Question Behind the Question (QBQ).
QBQs like these:
“What can I do to become a more effective listener?”
“How can I better understand others?”
“What will I do today to learn new communication skills?”
If you believe taking ownership for making communication happen is a better path than pointing fingers, one skill to develop is that of asking questions when attempting to communicate. Here are 10:
- If I confuse you, would you please interrupt me?
- What did you hear me say?
- Would you please share what you think I meant to say?
- Are there words I use that don’t work for you?
- What emotions do you experience when I share with you?
- Would there be a better time or setting for us to do this?
- Is there a more effective way for us to communicate?
- What is there in my body language that might distract from what I say?
- Is there anything I do when you’re talking to cause you to feel I’m not listening?
- What have you wanted to say to me but have not?
These questions make the difference. No communication happens when we’re yakking at someone. Only when we’re yakking with someone. Which, of course, is called … conversation.
“Conversation” defined: The exchange of ideas and information through spoken words.
The key word is … exchange.
Pontificating, lecturing, admonishing, rebuking, mocking, instructing, reprimanding, speechifying, shaming, telling, and yelling are not conversation.
Hence, they are not communication.
Many executives, managers, colleagues, friends, siblings, coaches, teachers, and parents have tried these ineffective—and damaging—approaches.
I know I have.
Is there a message you’ve been trying to get across to a person or group, but it just isn’t happening? If so, go back today armed with the 10 questions above and an accountable attitude and begin the conversation.
Then let us at QBQ, Inc. know how it goes … I want to make sure that I have communicated.