Can you understand me?

Published: Wednesday, April 6, 2016

I am constantly surrounded by a very diverse group of individuals. I can name 15 differently languages that can be spoken in my work hallway alone.

Compound that with the jargon of work, more acronyms than the military, and multiple mediums of communication, it is truly amazing that anything is well communicated. This is becoming the normal world of business. It is one where time zones, cultures, dialects, colloquialisms all converge into one melting pot.

Tips to help others understand you clearer

  • Conciseness in Email: Spend an extra couple of minutes refining the correspondence that you are about to send out. Being a technical person, many times I put in language that elaborates with additional detail that is not needed for the intended audience. Also, I try to measure my effectiveness by thinking about the “8th grade rule”.
  • Curb the storyteller in you to get a point across. I equate this to the reading comprehension questions my son gets in school sometimes. There can be a lot of extra content and context that may not be relevant to the point or question you are trying to get to. It can then be hard to decipher.
  • Don’t use cultural statements. Great examples that we use in the United States are “hit it out of the park” or “that was a slam dunk”. I don’t know what it is about sports analogies in general, but many people don’t relate or understand phrases like that.
  • Pay attention to non-verbal cues from others. When someone looks confused, they probably are.¬†When someone looks bored or uninterested they probably aren’t paying attention.

Being aware of the why, what, and how you are communicating will really help others understand what you are trying to communicate. Since this is such an essential part of our lives, isn’t it worth spending time each day working on how to communicate better?