Do You Have GAPS In Your Business Communications?
What’s a GAP? It’s certainly not something we usually have on our minds while creating our written communications or speaking our verbal communications.
Mariam-Webster defines it as a “break in continuity” – “an incomplete or deficient area” – “a problem caused by some disparity” and a few more!
In terms of our business communications a GAP occurs when we leave a space (or at best maintain only a weak link between what we are saying and how it is received) that enables our messaging to be interpreted at the will of our recipient. The risks are high for coming to a false conclusion … the severity to be determined by the seriously of the GAP!
It can be quite easy to have GAPS in our communications. Some of the areas you may look at in your messaging or the messaging you receive from others include:
– Assuming!! Oh how often do we do this!! We jump into a topic “assuming” the receiving mindset knows what we are talking about!! And if they don’t or just a portion of what we say is received correctly, things can go south quite quickly! The image at the top of this article says it all. A habit to get into for avoiding this type of GAP is to always begin your topic at what I refer to as “A,” yes, as in the alphabet. Go to the beginning of what ever “story” you are sharing. Make sure your recipients are on the same page with you “100%” from the very initial source of your ideas. If in a 2nd meeting with a prospect or phone call, begin with a quick recap of what happened in the precious meeting. The objective is to keep everyone on the same page.
– Talking about too many things at once. Sometimes we come with so much knowledge that we try to say too many things at once. When this happens it become difficult for a recipient to fully connect with any parts of the communication. Before a thought can be received, our communications are off in a similar but different direction, creating GAPs in our intention and purpose … mostly because of the lack of clarity that multiple thoughts create. To protect yourself from this “trap” .. stick to one thought at a time. Hold back, as hard as it can be. Keep it simple. Read back what you write before you send, listen to yourself as you speak!
–Talking too fast! Think we’ve all had the speed talker. In business that can create all sorts of bad reactions. We do this sometimes when we think we only have a limited amount of time to speak. In written communications, it can be messaging that is too short… uses lots of acronyms… touches upon the topic at hand very briefly. What we must do is know THERE IS TIME & SLOW DOWN. Clarity, understanding & connecting is more important than sliding in for a home run for which you might score an out! Going slow and maintaining attention and connectivity in the time we do have, will often get us additional time! People will make time for what they want!
– Tunnel Talk! What I mean by this is our communications are delivered A-Z one way! No asking questions along the way. No pausing. No including optional thoughts as the written and/or spoken communications are delivered. Some people refer to people speaking this way as motormouths. The same can be seen in some written communications as well. If we find outselves being this way, what can help is to think about driving our cars. As we steer our cars we are constantly moving to the right or left and back and forth going with the pulls away from our straight lines and then steering all back to the direction we want to go. It is ongoing as we drive. The same thing happens in our communications … be aware … remember to breathe …let questions be asked… present what might be questions … and keep steering as you go.
– Pay Attention To The Details! Stay alert! Be on time! Look nice! Read EACH word. Read the small print. Listen. Think beyond what we want. Focus on what our prospects and clients want! Be proactive. Do our homework!!
With the New Year upon us, it’s a great time to take stock of our business communications. Look for GAPS … are you guilty or are you good? I’m happy to take a look and provide some input. There is lots to achieve going forward past 2020. Don’t let yourself get lost in the shuffle due to GAPS!
Till the next time, be #communicationsstrong
Here’s to your communications success!