Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Part 2 of 2
This is Part 2 of Jocelyn Bérard’s blog-post. If you haven’t already read Part 1, you can read it here.
Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.
Three Cs that underpin all business challenges
By Jocelyn Bérard, M.Ps. MBA Vice President, Leadership and Business Solutions — International Global Knowledge
The New and Different About Communication
To summarise in a few words what is new, we could say: the amount, the pace, and the medium used. During a typical day, you read through (and respond to) your vast list of emails, discover interesting articles from the many RSS feeds you subscribe to, and catch up on your Twitter account and Facebook page for either personal or business communication. While you were doing that, you received a few SMS messages on your mobile phone and an email updating you on your LinkedIn contacts. But right now, you need to ﬁnd some quiet time because you are doing a virtual session where you will discuss the introduction to a new system that is being implemented. You expect some resistance because most people are comfortable with the current system. You suspect they may be somewhat confrontational. Dealing with emotion, or negative feedback is much more challenging on a virtual session where you lose most of the non verbal and para-verbal communication cues.
This is the “new” part of communication, and it brings a multitude of challenges inherent to these new ways of communicating. The fundamental model of communication is still the same; there is a sender and a receiver, multiple ﬁlters in between that can alter the way the message is sent, communicated, received, and interpreted. This communication process takes a whole new reality when new ways to communicate like webinars and instant messaging are the preferred mediums of modern businesses.
Numerous habits and behaviours have been developed in relation to these new communication devices and ways to interact. Constant connectivity, new vocabulary, micro-coordination, (i.e.,last minute decision making, etc.) It was curious to observe the intensity of the reactions during RIM’s four-day system outage; Blackberry users realised they were so dependent upon their technology devices to communicate that it caused them to react emotionally, as if a friend had abandoned them.
Ultimately communication needs to achieve some level of effectiveness, whatever the communication medium utilised.
What Can You Do to Ensure Your Message is Received as Intended?
Consider what percentage of the full meaning of communication is derived from verbal communication? Para-verbal (such as the tone of voice)? Non verbal (such as gestures)?
Various research provides percentages that vary, but the general consensus is that the Verbal – the words – count only for approximately 10%, the para-verbal for 40% and the non verbal for 50%.
The learning here is that it is not only what you say that counts, it is mostly how you say it. And if approximately 50% of the meaning of the message is impacted by the non-verbal, what does that mean for any non face-to-face communication such as email, blogs, Twitter or even conference calls or webinars? Attention needs to be paid to apply good communication practices to the new shortened and speedy communication of today’s world. An effective way to craft your message, face-to-face or in writing, is to use KUBA.
Creating Communication Clarity with KUBA
KUBA refers to a four-step process everyone can use to make their communication more effective and inﬂuential. When you are considering engaging in communication you should take a moment and think through the KUBA process and the intention of your communication. Do so from the receiver’s perspective as well as your own.
KUBA Your Communication:
- First, people need to know what the core of the message is or what they are being asked to do as clearly and speciﬁcally as possible. Key words: the “what”, the facts.
- One characteristic of clear communicators is that they provide a solid context, helping people to understand why action is necessary. Key words: the “why”, the rational.
- With information and context now provided, people need to believe in the value of what you are asking them to do, and they need to believe they can accomplish it. Key word: the beneﬁts.
- Only when people know, understand and believe will they act. Key words: next steps, actions.
The Critical Balance of Seeking and Telling
One of the most powerful ways to communicate and coach others is by effectively balancing asking good questions and making recommendations; seeking and telling. The key is not forgetting to ask questions and let the other person come up with ideas, suggestions, reactions, etc. It could be tempting – almost a communication trap – to get into a “telling mode” when communicating, especially in quick virtual bursts such as email or text messages. Asking good questions will allow the person you are communicating with to expand her thinking and open up the conversation. It is also an effective way to check for understanding by reformulating the other person’s thoughts and asking a question.
Facing today’s business reality is not an option. The challenging Cs: Complexity, Competitiveness, Change, Customer-Centric, Creativity, Collaboration, Culture – are here and we can’t ignore them. Communicating in order to perform your work is also not an option. The options you have, or the decision you can make is based on how effective you want your communication to be. The new technology, mediums, style, and pace of communication have their own idiosyncrasies. The mistake would be to think that proper communication cannot be achieved at such a fast pace. Methods and approaches can still be applied and learned to maximize the impact of your communication. As the retail experts insist on location, location, location, it is as imperative in our business and personal lives to communicate, communicate, and communicate…effectively