The Wall Street Journal recently ran a story on a tablet specifically geared towards 3 to 5 year olds. In addition, a study released this week noted that kids that watch more than 9 minutes a day of Spongebob Square Pants are more likely to be ADHD because they think that Spongebob and Patrick’s pace is real world. I am not making that up. ( And I appreciate that not everyone agrees with the study.)
I have recently joked that communication is really just “tell them, tell them again, tell them a third time, don’t get mad when they say you never told me, be quiet and let the noise die down, tell them again using a different medium and repeat.” I am joking but that does beg the question of how do we communicate effectively in a world where there is so much information flowing.
My joke scenario is not a total joke. I think reality is to state things clearly, repeat them, layer them (tell the story different ways with different tools), get others to do the same and then double check with some people to see if they heard you.
The same is true on the receiving end. We all process things differently, and most of us process different things different ways at different times. So, as a listener, what can we do to help the story tellers? I don’t think the answer is just pay attention. Help people out. When you can, let people how you personally process information. You can say things like I don’t do text. Or I prefer email. Or if you leave me a voicemail here, odds are I won’t return it so call my cell phone at XXX or email me at YYY. Whatever works for you.
Manage your inbound preferences. Subscribe to things that matter to you. Keep the publication subscriptions that work for you. Manage your junk filters to help you see what is most important and filter what is not.
But, for the most part I am talking about business communication involving individuals or groups. Tell them. Tell them again. Don’t get mad when they say they never got the memo. Start over.
Do I have an answer on what is really effective communication? Absolutely not. Do I think about it every day? Absolutely yes.
What do you do to help people hear you?