Categories
Leadership

Communication

There’s not much that tests your communication skills as quickly as building furniture. It’s something that can seem simpler than it actually ends up being. It needs more than one person to do effectively, and those people usually have different levels of experience to bring to the activity.

Firstly, you should read the instructions. Look at all the stages and each detail of those steps. This brings out any assumptions and smooths them over. This first activity starts to balance out those gaps in experience.

Next you arrange your tools and make sure you’ve got everything you need. This lets you agree some terms upfront, building your shared language and ensuring early understanding of term.

Then you talk early, before starting a particular action. You are sharing expectations early, rather than hoping that someone figures out what you want after you’re already straining under the load of a heavy lump of wood. Trying to share meaning in stressful situations is hard, and often just raises the stress.

So, to communicate well you should:

  1. Uncover assumptions early
  2. Agree terms and their meanings
  3. Set expectations before it gets stressful

This wont just help you put furniture together more easily, it’ll make you more effective in any situation where you need to communicate something important.

Categories
Leadership

Communicating Change

When you are attempting to communicate with someone, you need to always hold on to the idea that “it’s not what you say, it’s what they hear”. Once you’ve internalised this, it gives you a chance to build the shared pool of meaning that’s required to communicate something effectively.

Communicating “change” is a whole level beyond this basic interaction. Change brings uncertainty. It will take time, and it will affect a number of people.

With these added complexities, you need to bring another skill to bear. You need to be consistent.

You will have to repeat your message many times, in many formats and to many people. A single broadcast in a single medium will not have the impact you hope for.

If you are communicating change, you will have had more time to get used to the idea, to see the benefits and to see the path forwards. Anyone new to the idea will not have this, so your first announcement will feel like a bolt from the blue.

People will react to this in different ways, excitement, shock, even anger. Be ready to refine your message and to share it in different contexts and mediums, but always hold your consistent points in the front of mind.

When you’re sick of saying it, people are starting to get it, so get your head down, craft your message and give it multiple times with consistent focus.