Effective Communication: How is your data being received?
Written by Renée Safrata - email@example.com, September 30th, 2011
Sounds so simple, but there is a complexity here that sometimes, when discussing a topic with others around the boardroom table, we often forget. It’s this complexity that can lead to gossip and misinterpretations.
I recently facilitated a team meeting where two individuals were engaged in a topic they were both passionate about. In fact, they were so passionate and energized by their own opinions that, part way into the conversation, they chose to both select ‘sending data’ as a personal strategy.
What I mean by this is that, instead of one person stating their position and then the other person responding with a similar position, these two people dove more deeply into their own viewpoints. With bolder voice tones and intensified body positions, anyone observing them would conclude that they were locked in a heated disagreement.
It was at this point of their conversation that I interjected, as I wanted to find out if their team members were having the same experience I was. I asked each person sitting around the boardroom table if they thought these two were agreeing or disagreeing with one another. Unanimously, they all interpreted that the two were disagreeing.
This surprised the two in question, as they both stated that they agreed with each other. Yet, if I had not asked these two for clarification, everyone would have left the boardroom thinking that a disagreement had just taken place. Wow! This is a perfect example of how quickly one ineffective conversation can lead to messy misinterpretations.
The next time you are in a conversation or a meeting, consider not only how many ‘receivers’ are interpreting what you’re saying, but also how they might be receiving that data.
- Choose effective statements such as: “I agree with you and want to add…” or “we are making the same point and I want to stress…”,
- Use a positive tone of voice and,
- Display welcoming body language to clearly communicate your point.
- Not sure if your point is getting across? Ask someone to reflect back to you what they hear you saying.
We often overlook when speaking in a group, the number of ‘receivers’ who are quietly listening and collecting assumptions to discuss with others outside of this meeting.
Have you been in a similar situation? Tell us how your data was recently received by a larger audience than you intended?