One of the most frustrating things being a human can be communication. Communication is at the core of most of life's tensions, disagreements, quarreling, and complaining. How many times have you been in an argument (or as I like to call it “intense fellowship” ) and you made the statement “that is not what I am saying” or “don’t you understand.” In relational tension I've experienced that the greatest tension is understanding or being understood. As a leader, I choose to carry the responsibility of communicating. I don’t always communicate well, but I recognize that as John Maxwell says, “The leader can give up anything except final responsibility.”
Here are few things to keep in mind when communicating:
1. Communication is a conversation:
You cannot get communication without communing. I have been in a lot of conversations with my wife about what the other person did or did not say. At the end of the day what was said was not as important as what was heard. It doesn’t matter how many times I say it, what matters is that she understands it.
If nobody is listening you are just talking! You have a message to give the one you are communicating with, so make sure that they are listening and understanding. I would also add that make sure you are listening. Listening will not help your audience open up it will also help you to learn to better articulate what you are wanting to say.
2. Contextualize the conversation:
Living in the digital age we have so many ways to communicate. Yet it seems that the more options we have the more prone we are to miscommunicate. Every method carries a value and the value of our communication must be put on the proper place on that scale. For instance, you would not want to ask for a hand in marriage through texting (unless you want the answer to be no). Tone, body language, facial expression, all of these things help communication happen. Remove those elements and you leave more room for confusion. Contextualize the conversations on the scale based upon the weightiness of the topic.
1- Public post (social media)
2- Digital Messaging/Texting
3- Phone call
4- Personal face to face conversation
3. Confirmation completes communication:
Just because it has been spoken, posted, typed, screamed, over emphasized, doesn’t mean it has been communicated. If you are a leader it is not just your job to “tell it” you have to do your best to get confirmation. I make it a rule that until what I communicated is confirmed back to me, communication has not happened.
I had the honor of working under Pastor Richie Brown in Amarillo, TX for a couple of years. One day I was expressing some frustrations with people that would not responded to what I was trying to say. Pastor Richie shared with me some words I will never forget, “message received is message sent.” In other words, just because I said something, doesn't mean that communication happened.
I hope these 3 simple steps will help you communicate all the things you are trying to convey! Our relationships are everything and we should all be willing to grow in our skills to communicate with our teams & loved ones!