Why use 10 words when zero will do?
I was riding my mountain bike with my little one in tow today and came across some construction workers who were pouring cement on top of some electrical cabling that was going to power an automatic gate for Denver water. I marveled at the way the cement truck operator (who remained in the cab of his truck) and one of the construction workers worked in tandem with visual hand signals only (verbal communication would have been futile with all the surrounding background noise anyway.) The way they worked together was seamless. How does this relatively complex procedure of positioning, pouring, maneuvering etc. come about? Well, it’s a one word answer. Trust.
Each part of the equation (the 2 men involved) has complete faith in the competency of his counterpart. This, together with cemented (excuse the pun) pre – designated set of hand signals allows them to work efficiently without once having to talk to each other. Each man is completely focused on the job at hand.
As we all know, studies suggest that 7% of any message is conveyed through words, 38% through certain vocal elements, and 55% through nonverbal elements (facial expressions, gestures, posture, etc). What does that mean to you? Well I can tell you what it means to me. If I am talking with somebody and I notice that their body language is telling me that they are not particularly interested in what I have to say, I will abruptly end the conversation and walk away with a somewhat bitter taste in my mouth.
To have meaningful interactions/conversations, all parties concerned have to be invested. If you need to convey or disseminate critical information to your workforce or a colleague, make sure before you open your mouth that you have their undivided attention and that they are fully aware of the importance of the words that are about to be spoken. If there is any doubt in your mind that some, or all parts of the dialogue fell on deaf ears, then you need to ask the individuals concerned for reconfirmation. It will save you a lot of frustration in the long term.
If you have a “difference of opinion” with someone at work, relationship at home or just a friend it is imperative that at least one of you can step outside of the normal realms of human interaction and be totally subjective on the topic at hand. If not, ego typically will get in the way and any type of resolution will be impossible to obtain. In these situations it is simply better to say nothing and walk away, then re-approach the topic when the emotional tide has somewhat receded.
In this age of technology, and in my opinion over stimulation, I find myself in somewhat disbelief how difficult it has become to have a “real” conversation with people without them having the “hurry up I have other things to attend to” look. It drives me up the wall, which of course is ironic as my own communication barrier begins to raise its ugly head.
Effective communication is important in every aspect of our lives and I feel the art of communication is being lost. Call me a dinosaur but I would rather receive a phone call to an email every day of the week and twice on Sundays. Do me a favor (and yourself for that matter) be invested in the human interactions you have. If the conversation is work related make sure you fully understand what is being said and if you don’t, ask. If you are the conversation initiator, ask if anyone did not understand what was being said. Take the people who did not process the information effectively to one side and explain it in a way that they can grasp the concept (we all process information in our own unique ways).
Rogue Consulting Group prides itself on its ability to provide and facilitate unique communication (verbal and nonverbal) evolutions that can highlight communication strengths and weaknesses in you and your team. Through these processes all participating individuals will get a new-found knowledge of how they present and receive information that relates to their work and their colleagues, while also developing strategies for overcoming potential communication meltdowns.
If you would like to find out more about our evolutions that focus on effective communication please contact us at: