Mind the Gap – Change Challenge #2

Have you ever been frustrated when someone didn’t do what you told them to do? Have you ever shared something that is going on and your team (or spouse/kids) just didn’t get it?
Communication is a simple yet often misunderstood interaction between people. Communication requires a sender, a message, and a recipient. Unfortunately the message doesn’t always connect with the recipient, even when the sender believes they are being clear!
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This chasm between hearing and understanding is Change Challenge #2. How do you get the right message through to a listener in the midst of change?
Here are three ideas for overcoming the gap between hearing and understanding:

  1. Repetition, repetition, repetition – you have to share the message multiple times. Without repetition your message will not sink in. Although you may feel like you’ve said something over and over, it’s often been repeated to different people. If it really matters…say it again.
  2. Tell a Story – people’s brains remember stories more than facts or data points. Share the “why” behind the “what” so the listener can make connections. Too often communications focus so much on the facts that they do not make meaning, and consequently the message gets lost in translation.
  3. Dialogue – The best way to ensure that someone moves from hearing what you say to understanding what you are saying is to have a dialogue. This is a two way flow of information that involves asking questions and listening, not just telling. Brain research shows that a conversation is one of the best ways to help someone process information.

The next time you are challenged to close the gap between hearing and understanding, repeat the message, share a story or engage in a dialogue.

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