Updated: Nov 1, 2019
We all know how important communication is but do you know the cost? David Grossman reported in “The Cost of Poor Communications” that a survey of 400 companies with 100,000 employees each cited an average loss per company of $62.4 million per year because of inadequate communication to and between employees. Debra Hamilton asserted, in her article “Top Ten Email Blunders that Cost Companies Money,” that miscommunication cost even smaller companies of 100 employees an average of $420,000 per year. These statistics are mind blowing.
A communication skill is the ability to convey, share ideas or feelings and transferring information from one place to another effectively. Another communication skill is the ability to listen to understand versus simply to respond. It doesn't sound that hard does it, but, there are many arears in tses statements it can and does go wrong.
"Trouble comes from the mouth" ~ Chinese Proverb
Some of the things that get in the way of us communicating effectively include:
- "you" language accompanied by a (negative) directive e.g. 'you need to do this now' essentially it's a statement that passes judgement and usually results in the other person being defensive and/or saying no. Perfect if what you are after is conflict, not so much if you want help getting something done.
- Believing that our perception of the situation or reality is complete and accurate. Everyones perceptions are dependent on their own experiences and even though their behaviour or ideas don't make sense to you it does to them.
- 'Universal statements' that generalise another persons behaviour or character in a negative way. The most common types of universal statements involve the use of words such as “always,” “never,” “again,” “so,” “every time,” “such a,” and “everyone.” There can be double the trouble here when it is combined with 'you' language e.g. 'you always take the side of the boss'
- Instead of listening with curiosity and to understand anothers reality we are simply waiting to respond (attack, defence, our own reality)
"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." ~ George Bernard Shaw
It's challenging, some might say impossible, to change the way others communicate (you can provide training but they still have to decide to put it into practice), we can however take action to change the way communicate.