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communicate with power“I’m going to get fired.”

“Why do you think that?”

“My boss completely lost it when I told him the lawyers were working on a settlement for the discrimination case. He acted like he’d never heard about it before.”

“Had you told him settling was a possibility?”

“I might have mentioned it early on. But come on, everyone knows a settlement is always an option with lawsuits.”

This situation leading up to this conversation is rich with communication-improvement opportunity (just love that phrase!) and demonstrates this quote in action:

Many communicate, few connect. ~John Maxwell, author

Peter, the erstwhile HR manager in trouble here with his boss, forgot his role in the communication process. As the sender of the lawsuit-status updates, he owned assuring that his message was received and fully understood.

Lots of things get in the way of making this happen:  we’re pushed for time and assume rather than ask, we give people credit for knowing more than they really do, we’re multi-tasking and not actively listening, etc.

Effective communications happen when we proactively take steps to assure that what was heard is what we wanted to communicate.  Leaders have to communicate, connect, and confirm.

5 things to do to assure the communication gap is closed


We want to be understood. To make this happen, invite dialogue. Request feedback. Ask clarifying questions.

We want acceptance and agreement from others. To achieve this goal, take and make the time to identify communication styles and preferences so we’re connecting in meaningful ways. Know if a text, email, phone call, chat, or memo is the most effective way to share information.

We want to understand others. This requires evaluating the message rather than the messenger. Listen to the words; avoid getting hung up by the tattoos or three-piece suit. Stereotypes and unconscious bias can derail us before we ever started in communicating.

We want action or a response from the other person. To meet this need, declare and negotiate specific outcomes, set completion dates, define parameters, etc. 

We want to be heard and listened to. Making this happen means concentrating on the quality of our message and giving gift of our attention. Listen to be listened to. Connect to be connected with. Give quality to get quality.


communication process

What tips and pointers for effective, meaningful communication and connection do you have to share?

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