The Importance of Communication

Last night I was reminded of the importance of communication!

I’m part of a weekly parent transport rota for my daughter’s gym club, and the messages went along the lines of:

Me “do you have a preference for taking or collecting”
Reply If you don’t mind taking suits me best these days”

So what did I do? I took the gymnasts …… and so did the other person who replied! unknowingly passing each other and turning up at each of our respective houses with the children all having left already!!

On a second read of the text message, it could have been interpreted either way!

This is something we cover in our effective communication workshops and also features in our leadership and management programmes and really highlights some of the key learning points, including”

“It not what you say, it’s what people hear”

There is a difference between:

  • Intention
  • Perception
  • Impact

Most people tend to act with the best of intentions but sometimes we find that other people’s perception is in contrast to what we intended and the impact is different as a result. We have a number of different tools we use, including communication styles and 360 feedback that can help people understand more on this subject to ensure the impact of their actions is more in line with their intent.

Going back to last night’s messages, this really highlights the difference punctuation makes in written communication (and yes we do deliver plain english and report writing workshops too); however if this had been part of a conversation then it may been more likely that the message was interpreted as it was intended, as I expect there would have been a pause part way through the sentence and maybe a change in pitch too.

The most commonly cited study on the relative importance of verbal and nonverbal messages in personal communication is one by Prof. Albert Mehrabian of the University of California in Los Angeles, known as the

7-38-55 Rule of Personal Communication where he quantified that words, tone of voice, and body language respectively account for 7%, 38%, and 55% of personal communication. Something that’s useful when thinking about how we communicate with our colleagues, teams, clients and also friends/family!

If you would like to discuss how we could help you in improving business performance, and individual and collective people performance, please contact Kate on 01892 610060 to arrange a meeting with one of our expert consultants. We’ll love a chat over a coffee.

So how did you read it?

“If you don’t mind taking” or “If you don’t mind, taking suits me best” ….