Discover more from How to Lead Everybody (with their permission)
I had the weirdest dream...
When you are communicating with other people, you are trying to take a concept from your own conscious mind and implant it into someone else’s (“Ahh… Inception. A dangerous game.”). When you think about the complexity of the human brain and the limits of expressive language (e.g., noises make by pushing air through our mouth-parts and/or meaningful squiggles on a writing surface), it’s kind of amazing that we can actually DO this with any success.
When we are communicating to others, it helps to think of the experience as a two-way process, rather than a one-way process. If your assumption is: “Here’s the thing I am thinking, and my mouth-noises and/or writing-surface-squiggles will convey it to you perfectly,” well, that has the potential to end badly for you.
Think of communication as a two-way process.
First, engage with the person convey your idea. This can be as simple as, “Hey Bob, do you have a minute? I’d like to run something by you.” Ideally, you want some response… hopefully it will be better than a grunt of acknowledgement. Basically, it’s making sure they have turned off their airpods and actually know you are trying to communicate with them.
Second, tell them the idea the way THEY want to hear it, not the way YOU want to tell it. Most introverts like you to lay out the situation or the premise first: “So, I was looking at the office supply closet and I noticed that…”
Most extroverts want you to start with the bottom line and then give them details later, if they need them:
YOU (bottom-lining it): “I think we should get the supplies for the fax machine out of the office supply closet, so we then have more space in there for yummy treats for the break room.”
THEM (requesting relevant details): “What fax machine supplies?”
YOU: “The ones on the middle shelf on the left, for the fax machine that we no longer even have. Those things in the yellow packaging.”
THEM: “That’s what those are? Why do we even have those anymore?”
Third, confirm the other person’s understanding and give them a chance to extend on the idea. When people connect with an idea this way, they are more motivated to buy in and even to act on it. “Sounds great! I’ll box that stuff up today and get it out of there, then I’ll place an order for more of those cookies everyone likes.”
The moral of today’s post: effective communication can lead to having more cookies.
Photo credit: Jason Rosewell (@jasonrosewell)