“A very great part of the mischiefs that vex this world arises from words”

— Edmund Burke.

I’ve been leading small teams for roughly ten years, and one of the more important lessons I’ve learned is that WORDS MATTER.

How much time and energy have we seen squandered because of miscommunication? How often has this miscommunication been caused by one or two simple words? Lack of clear communication can cause us to venture down paths we don’t need to venture down, chase issues where there are no issues, and try to solve problems where there are no problems. We end up spending time creating courses of action that we don’t even need to develop—all because of miscommunication. Does this sound familiar?

Make your best effort to be mindful and detailed when communicating with your team. Take time to ensure that you are understood. Remember, once you’ve spoken, those words are no longer yours. Your statements are subject to the perception and interpretation of the people you communicate with, so you must find ways to figure out if these individuals are accurately receiving your message.

Here are three strategies you can use to limit miscommunication:

  • Be clear, concise, and as direct as possible. If the goal is to direct or get others to take action, limit the amount of “fluff” and unnecessary words. Be straightforward.
  • Encourage feedback from your team. You can even ask the team to repeat what you said to ensure they understand your intent.
  • Consider how you should communicate your message to your team or audience. This is where “what” you want to say meets “how” you need to say it. Consider tone, body language, and pace. You’d be surprised at how often we send mixed messages because our words say one thing while our body language and tone say another.

Published by Aaron L.

A young man looking to share his light with the world. I enjoy reading non-fiction, drafting speeches, and writing poetry. Over the past 10 years, I've had the opportunity to lead diverse teams of emergency responders, planners, trainers, and human resource professionals. Fun fact, I've lived and worked in 3 different countries.

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