I am learning to be less efficient in my communication.
Lately I realised I am too obsessed about communicating efficiently that it hurts the effectiveness. I am not getting my message across as well as I could.
My tendency is to distill what I want to say into the most precise and succinct set of words, arrange them in the optimal structure, deliver it once in the most perfect timing, and keep it somewhere referenceable so I don’t need to repeat myself.
People are there but they don’t hear.
They hear but they don’t listen.
They listen but they don’t understand.
They understand but they forget.
One of my biggest fears is to be seen as rambling broken record. I have deep insecurity about being ignored, misunderstood, or repetitive. I want to be seen as someone who is calm, sharp, and speaks infrequent gold.
I bet on broadcasting to capture attention and assume even the slightest attention means engagement.
I also want the audience or conversation partner feel I trust them fully; that they:
- will ask for what they need — clarify when they are confused,
- are smart enough to “get” it at first attempt without the need of confirmation of what they really hear, and
- are committed enough to own the goal to completion and deliver expectations without needing constant reminding or check in.
Basically I am wishing for lossless transfer of information between brains and projecting my own other set of insecurities — to be seen as capable, smart, and reliable. I don’t want people to even think “Sheesh, I know, shut up already“.
Coordination and collaboration demand overcommunication.
Leading and managing require repetition, rehashing, and reorienting.
Reiterating direction, context, and expectations.
Obviously, the more inefficiently I communicate will not automatically make me a more effective communicator. But the more efficient I default to be, I will likely be communicating ineffectively.
Communicating more inefficiently doesn’t mean using more words than I need to. It just means not shying away from repeating, rephrasing, and repackaging a message. I will still use the most efficient language in every instance, every version, and every form.
This also means I will listen to every instance, every version, and every form.
This is not new news anyway. I first concluded my thought about it back in January this year and first accepted that this is a legitimate problem I want to tackle for a couple of months before then.
One thing I am beginning to accept lately:
Don't be afraid of overcommunicating and sounding like a broken record.
You can't just say it ONCE and hope EVERYONE gets it right then and there.
— Theresia Tanzil (@theresiatanzil) January 17, 2020
This issue has taken the back seat since. It came up here and there but nothing never became too much of a big deal. But recently I’ve been playing more with the idea of efficiency and effectiveness and suddently thought of framing the issue from that lens. Seeing a problem from a fresh perspective, seeing new attack points.
So, here are some self reminder, yet again!
Perfect articulation != perfect absorption. Different brain different nooks and crannies.
You can’t just say it ONCE and hope EVERYONE gets it right then and there.
Everyone has different contexts, need to hear things in different versions, many times, over a period of time, to internalise something.
I personally need years to internalise many of my own insights by talking to and reminding myself. Let alone other people.
Three truths to effective communication:
- can’t just say it once
- can’t just say it with the same words
- can’t just say it through the same medium
It’s NOT a sin to repeat stuff. I might annoy some people but that’s all. Most won’t even notice.
This applies to the noisy & ephemeral digital spaces as well. If you had a message you want to get out: repost, rephrase, repackage.