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Avoid all the reasons (excuses?) for poor communication

Tags: Be interesting | Presentations | Meetings | Impact | Save time | Do more | Influencing

28th February

It can be hard to communicate well.

There are just so many obstacles in the way, aren’t there?

In fact, last week, a group told me circumstances made it impossible for them to communicate well. I asked what they were. You might recognise some:

  • I don’t have time
  • Other people have access to my calendar, so put things in that absorb all my time
  • I get invited to meetings I don’t want to attend, but think I better had
  • Everything’s so last minute
  • Nobody else communicates well
  • My boss is a terrible communicator
  • My boss always corrects anything I prepare for her. So everything takes twice as long
  • All our customers prefer face-to-face meetings. When you include travel, these take ages
  • My inbox is so full, it’s impossible to do things quickly – or do them well
  • We have lots of pointless meetings. Nobody would care if I didn’t go. But it’s expected I do

As I say, you’ll recognise some of these. You’ll no doubt have more of your own.

But I’ll ask you the same question I asked them:

       Are you sure there’s absolutely nothing you can do about these?

Now when you think about it, there’s no way that’s the case. There must be more than nothing you can do.

But, when I asked the group how they could overcome these, there was silence.

So I thought ‘well, if they aren’t talking, neither am I’.

So we all sat there for a bit.

And then eventually someone said “well, when I get invited to a meeting I don’t need to go to, and nobody will care if I don’t, I could decline it”.

A great idea!

I asked what else they could do.

More silence.

And then someone else ventured “I suppose I could contact the owner upfront, say I can’t make the meeting, but offer to have a quick chat now to give my views”.

Another good idea. I asked for more…

And now they started flooding out. In fact, six minutes later, they had found ways they could overcome every barrier.

I then gave them half an hour to implement their ideas. For example, if someone had said they’d call to decline a meeting, they called right then – while I was there.

Thirty minutes later, they’d removed virtually all their barriers.

And our lesson from this?

Well, there are always reasons for poor communication.

But think: are they reasons (‘there’s nothing I can do’) or excuses (I’m choosing not to’)?

And, of course, if there is something you can do – well, just do it.

You might not remove every single reason/excuse.

But you’ll remove more than none.

And, when you think of all the benefits that’ll bring – more time, more headspace, more positivity, less frustration, more control, more fun…

… Now that’s something worth aiming for.

Action point

Spend two minutes identifying:

  • Your biggest blockers to good comms
  • Simple ways to remove them

And then do them.

This means that, just two minutes from now, you’ll have started to remove something that’s been annoying you for ages.

Even better: here are two other ways you can do right now: