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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Communication Disconnects

Communication disconnects are detachments from what you attempt to convey and what you actually convey. A tremendous number of words and statements have wide arrays of meanings. Assuming that the words and statements that we use have the exact same meanings for others frequently leads to misunderstandings, disconnects and frustrations.
Our interpretation and understanding of words and statements drives our perceptions and expectations of ourselves and of others. This in turn drives our actions and reactions with everyone who we interact with.
Communication disconnects can destroy your relationships on and off the job.
Disconnects are things we say or do that push people away from us emotionally. They make people less open to us -- make them like us less, trust us less."
Quite simply, anything you say or do that communicates one of the following three messages is a disconnect: 1) "I don't respect you," 2) "I don't understand you," and 3) "I don't care about you." And these disconnects absolutely kill off your effectiveness with people.
Let's look at some of the Communication disconnects:
1. Talking about yourself ... too much.
Note ... the emphasis is on the words "too much." You have to self-disclose some information about yourself if you're going to connect with your team mates and family members. But if you're prone to tell long stories about yourself, you lose people.
2. Talking too much ... period
Whereas point #1 refers to "talking about yourself ... too much," point #2 says that just plain "talking too much" is a disconnect.
3. Failing to acknowledge others
It happens all too often. So make sure you acknowledge people when they come into sight, whether it's nodding in their direction, saying "hi" to a coworker who passes by in the hallway, or asking a question. It always communicates some caring and some respect.
4. Interrupting
In fact, interrupting is a triple disconnect. It says, "I don't care about you. I don't respect you. And I can't understand you because I'm not even bothering to listen to you."
5. Blaming
One of the key characteristics of a "disconnect" is the fact that it puts too much emphasis on me-me-me rather than we-we-we interaction. And even though blaming may seem to point outwards towards others, the underlying message is "I didn't do it ... It's not my fault ... Don't think badly of me, me, me!"
6. Right-wrong thinking
The minute you believe your way is the "right" way, all other ways become "wrong." You start putting your energy into defending your "rightness" and attacking the other person's "wrongness." And that's bound to hurt the communication process and your relationships. It communicates an "I don't respect you" message.
7. Partial listening
Whenever you're listening to somebody else and trying to do something else at the same time, you're sending the disconnect messages of "I don't care about you" and "I don't understand you."
8. Insensitivity to the other’s needs
Ask yourself how sensitive you're being to the needs of your coworkers, customers, and family members. If you aren’t, then that’s a big disconnect.
9. Assumptions
"Assumption is the mother of screw-up." All too often we "assume" the other person will understand us rather "ensure" his/her understanding.
10. Jargon
Organizations are filled with it. And each department within the organization might have their own words and acronyms that other people outside the group may not understand.
So skip the jargon ... or at least minimize the jargon ... if you want to connect with people outside your own inner circle.

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