An exciting part of our business is that we really are a collection of many businesses — from NC to MA. We have different accents, climates, favorite teams, and yes, food preferences. But, this also means that face time with one another is, regrettably, infrequent. We use other tools to stay in touch: zoom, phone, email-text-slack-chat. All fine, but…these methods increase our risk for miscommunication. Two things are in play: intent and impact. When delivering and receiving messages we often think these are aligned. The person delivering assumes the other understands their intent. The person receiving assumes the impact of the message (on them) is what was intended. When it comes to any communication that is not in person we lose cues: eye contact, facial expressions, body language. And when we use non-verbal alternatives like email and text, we lose those and more: tone of voice, speech patterns, fluidity found in conversation. So a few things to practice:
- Share your intent up-front
- Pause to consider the impact of your messages – look for cues that you may have been misunderstood and talk about it
- If your impact was not as intended, don’t over-explain your intent, start empathizing. “I can see how my message came across that way.”
- Remember this: we read emails and texts in a tone of voice, and imagining the other party’s facial expression. These assumptions can be very wrong. Don’t let them carry you away.
- Alternative tools are great, but….keep your “pick up the phone” radar turned on and listen to it!