Why is Communication so Challenging? 

The Latin base of communication is communicare, which means to share.

To share something, you must hold or know it, and recognize that sharing will benefit you and the other party.  It then needs to be presented in a way that others will want to partake or engage.

If the other party is not interested or does not know why they should be, the message will fall on deaf ears. This gives us three distinct components necessary for the START of effective communication. 

Three key components

1.) Having something to share 

2.) Recognizing that others will benefit from knowing what you share 

3.) Preparing to share in a way that it can be received by others  

Toxic environments pose a challenge

In an organization, you can see all the pitfalls that face communication or sharing. Simply the thought of sharing in some workplaces is abhorrent. Those are toxic environments and require greater intervention than an article on communication. 

Instead, let’s presume that an organization is mostly united around a mission and purpose, and the team members intend to support and help each other to deliver on that mission. Not only does effective communication require a willingness to share there must also be receptivity to the message, a willingness to listen.  

Team members’ differences play a role too

Even in a healthy organization where team members are willing to listen, differences in communication or workstyles can present a very real hurdle to well-intentioned team members in effectively sharing information. It is not that they won’t or can’t, it’s the delivery that keeps the receiving party from receiving.  

For example, simple differences in communication styles, such as a person’s preference to give details task by task by task, can cause the receiver to tune out. Or another’s preference to paint a sweeping vision of the project, leaves out pertinent information because they prefer not to focus on details. Or a leader with a commanding presence and authoritative way of speaking, that squashes any possible questions, not by refusing to take them, but simply due to delivery style. 

When we share, it implies give and take, meaning that communication needs to be two-way. This is how someone skilled in communication confirms that the message was received and understood in the way it was intended. And that any potential obstacles or differences in approach get raised early. 

Equally important to effective communication is the skill of listening

Here are some resources for that.  

As you’ve read this article, you’ve likely identified the three different communication styles described above: detailed-oriented (in the weeds), vague but inspiring, and commanding. What could your teams achieve if they knew how to communicate effectively with each other? 

Consider the use of an assessment for your team to decipher styles and begin the process of building stronger communication skills. Or contact us for a conversation. 

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