This month’s leadership quote:
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
–George Bernard Shaw
We discussed this quote in my Vistage groups this month, and of course each of us had a recent story to tell. What we discovered was for most of us, our failures to communicate occur most often in our personal lives. We found that in our business lives we tend to be more intentional about ensuring that communication has in fact taken place.
The question we then asked was, ‘what can we do to up the success rate of communication?’ Below is a summary of the answers. As you think about your own recent stories, perhaps you will find this list useful:
- When you are the listener, pause, focus, look at the person, stop doing other things. In short, be present.
- When you are the speaker, check-in, ask if this is a good time for a conversation and notice the listener’s body language. If this isn’t a good time, save it for another time. After you speak, discover by asking questions; if you were heard and understood.
Bottom line, communication will not take place if you are speaking and the other person isn’t listening. Seems obvious and yet, each of us has a recent story to tell about when it did not take place.