Effective Communication Begins with Self-Talk

When the Challenger Space Shuttle exploded, there was an in-depth investigation to determine the cause. One of the top three reasons cited for the accident was a break down in communications among the involved project workers. Fear was a huge factor because several engineers went on record saying the outside temperature was untested beyond the 32-degree specification.

With a project of this magnitude, one struggles to understand how communications were crossed and dismissed when life and death issues were involved. Then, consider how communications unravel in offices and between departments when strangers are involved that did not work together like the Challenger team.

Here are several tips you can use to improve your communications and accuracy in your work:

  • Create a personal checklist before you approve items. Think about a pilot’s list!
  • Check your assumptions and biases at the “door.”
  • Embrace fact-based understanding and ask questions for things you need to know to complete your part of the project. Put instructions in writing and provide an overview of the project.
  • Engage in a webinar or read about emotional intelligence. (Daniel Golman popularized the term, and there is now an entire library related to the topic.) This information provides a framework to understand other people’s communication styles. Then, you can deliver your message in a way others are most likely to “hear” what you are saying.
  • Go through the Universal Why exercise until you cannot ask “why” anymore. Request a copy via email with Universal Why in the subject line. (This attribute is why toddlers often get their way through persistence!)
  • Develop active listening skills. Listen for what is NOT said and ask questions in that direction.
Please feedback how this tool can help you with your next assignment. -MC

Author:. Michelle is a business analyst, certified enterprise coach, entrepreneur, business author, and national public speaker. Her entrepreneurial practice focuses on contemporary business issues like Business Literacy™. Business Literacy peels away years of ineffective behavior and habits.  It builds an interior scaffolding—to communicate, to operate and to apply intelligence at ... Go Deeper | Website

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