If you’ve ever played the game Telephone or Whisper Down the Lane, you know how a message can change as it moves from person to person. While the outcome can be very funny to a circle of kindergarteners, it can create conflict or confusion in business.
The same goes for speaking the same language when using technical terminology or simply communicating to be understood. You may be asking the question “Who is on first?” but your client believes you to be making a statement that “Who is on first.” In order to improve correct communication with clients and partners, we need to listen and not just hear. That means learning the lingo your clients and partners use.
Speaking their language, and rooting out differences in terminology, will not only avoid a disconnect between the parties but also improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. Communication is the foundation of good relationships with co-workers, clients and partners alike leading to greater productivity and project efficiency.
Information concepts that live in one organization don’t always necessarily match another organization. In other words, something that makes perfect sense to you may mean something very different to someone else. The best way to confirm that both you and your client are “on the same page” is to ask questions. Identify key goals, get specific about desired outcomes and the process by which these goals will be achieved and confirm the vision, or picture, of the end result.
Even just the slightest misunderstanding in simple common terminology can lead to a complete breakdown of communications. Navigating language barriers, semantics or context can be very tricky and ignoring those barriers can wreak havoc in business relationships.
In order to achieve greater precision in the exchange of information and ideas, applying the Seven C’s of communication can help accurately convey the intended message and avoid confusion. Clear, coherent, concise, concrete, correct, complete and courteous language can ensure proper messaging and good business relationships. And never assume that technical terms are absolute in their meaning, rather, assume meaning is merely interpretation.
When we use not just the same words, but the right words with mutual interpretation we will build greater trust and respect, and improve teamwork and problem solving. Effective and clear communication promotes more robust business relationships and happier employees.
So the next time you want to know “What’s on second base,” make sure you know Who you’re talking about.