LIT: LOST IN TRANSLATION

Many of us have embraced this brave new world in which non-verbal communication is increasingly becoming more of the norm.  As a result, a staggering 65-75% of today’s communications are conducted in nonverbal ways.  Telephone calls of the past have been replaced by e-mails, instant messages, and text messages.  Voice inflections that would have previously been captured on the other end of the phone line are now supplanted by one-liners, abbreviations, and emoticons that are meant to swiftly communicate what the ”writer” is trying to convey.  Nonetheless, organizations still claim that their biggest problem is workplace communication. In a recent survey of business executives and employees, 86% blamed ineffective communication for workplace failures.

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One would think that with all of these avenues of communications, we would be doing a better job.  In fact, we simply need to communicate properly, not just more frequently.  With the advent of electronic sharing of information, it seems that we are merely communicating in short bursts, rather than in an effective steady stream.  We are ultimately wasting time.

How many of us have received an attachment accompanied with a vague subject line of “FYI”, only to find out later that the sender actually intended for us to review and comment on this time-sensitive document?  The fact of the matter is these assorted lines of communication have only engendered carelessness and sloppiness from a certain breed of workers.  Simply clicking on the Forward button of an e-mail message is not effective unless it is accompanied by a message detailing the purpose of that Forwarded action.

The fact is that businesses are leaving themselves wide open to the possibility of miscommunication.  Although we have made huge strides in offering a variety of communication methods, there is still much room for improvement with regards to workplace communication.  Whether you choose to use e-mail, IMs, or other social media in the workplace, you need to ensure that your communication style is:

  1. Direct:  Make your point quickly
  2. Organized: Communicate your points in a systematic manner
  3. Clear: Make your point distinctly
  4. Comprehensive:  Include all relevant information

Even though we now have a variety of “quick” methods for communicating in the workplace, we need to ensure that we choose a technique that will not only be efficient in the short run, but also add value to our organization in the long run.

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