Monday, April 21, 2014

One Thing To Remember As You Communicate

Communication is one of my superpowers. I was born with mad communication skills and now with the 20+ years experience working in marketing, it's safe to say I'm a pro at communicating.  This past weekend, I found myself honed in on one aspect of communication that even the savviest communicator cannot control - how your communication is received. This is the one rule of communications that always holds true - no matter the language, culture or time frame.

That's right, no matter what we do or how we prepare, we cannot control how our communication is received. The best we can do is be intentional in what we want to communicate. We can carefully craft our word selection. We can be cognizant of the tone of our words or our voices. But we can never control how the recipient of our communication will receive it.

This is especially true in our 21st Century style of communication. With the proliferation of social media channels and the ability to communicate almost exclusively in writing,  we have lost the ability to recognize this cardinal rule of communication.

People post. Other people respond. Conflict ensues.

And underneath it all, "folks wonder how in the world did that person, take that statement, THAT way." I'll tell you how....

We have no way of knowing someone else's frame of reference.

We don't know what language or words trigger what emotions in another person.

We don't know the state of mind of that person in the moment they read our post.

We have our own set of feelings, thoughts and emotions around what we intended.

The tone of written words are left up to interpretation.

You don't know that person well.

They don't know you well.

I'll spare you more reasons but leave you with this. As you communicate, especially in social media please remember you cannot control how someone receives what you post. Your best bet is to allow people space to receive your communication as they do. Give them the respect for the reaction they have. Don't feel compelled to admonish folks for how they feel or give advice for how they should feel.  Be and let people be.

Have the confidence in what you posted and your original intention and leave it at that. Imagine what digital comment strings would look like if people just remembered this one rule of communication.

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