In the movie Rush Hour Jackie Chan asked Chris Tucker, ‘Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?’. He replied, ‘Nobody understands the words that are coming out of your mouth!’. Wow! But really he did. He knew linguistically exactly what Jackie Chan was saying. But conceptually he was at a loss. I call that Communication Noise. There is something between the sender of a message and the receiver of that same message that gets in the way. ‘Like what?’, you might ask. There could be many things. Gender, race, age, education or marital status to name a few. Better communications in any environment can make a big difference in how things are done. And, frankly, whether or not things actually get done at all. The late Dr. Stephen Covey suggests that we ‘seek to understand and then to be understood’. If someone says something to you that is not clear or causes you pause you should ask for clarification or simply restate the comment/statement and ask if that is what they intended to say. At the risk of sounding sophomoric, you could very well have taken the bite out of what could be a big misunderstanding. Some ways to minimize Communication Noise are:
- Limit the use of jargon when possible to eliminate confusion
- Reiterate requests and comments when they are not clear
- Agree on what types of communiques should be written versus verbal and to what level of detail to promote clarity
- Determine reasonable timeframes for responses and make them known to remove ambiguity
- Allay fears by creating a great team environment in order to foster a sense of trust
Everyone should understand the words that are coming out of your mouth if you want to move forward and get things done. You now you have some tools you can use to clear up the noise! Visit us at www.janicecoleman.com to find out how we can support you and your team to be more effective communicators as we Prepare People to Perform.