Too often, readers end up shaking their heads and wondering what the sender was trying to tell them. Frequently, this generates a quick email reply and before you know it, there are dozens of emails flying back and forth in an effort to get a point across. The time wasted trying to make sure that all parties understand each other can be enormous especially when compared to the amount of time proper communication would have taken in the first place.
Worse, is when the “sound bite” sized communication is completely misunderstood and left unquestioned. The writer has one thing in mind, the reader something quite different but the communication was so limited that the interpretation is literally left to the imagination.
Often miscommunication is unintentional, but there are also times when it is truly the case that the sender is simply not relaying all the information they have at hand. The sender may be trying to paint a version of the truth to portray him or herself in the best possible light; and at times is intentionally misleading. We all make honest mistakes and miscommunicate from time to time, but to intentionally leave out facts and mislead is unforgivable.
We have all seen people act based upon misinformation. I am in the midst of cleaning up one such mess right now. In this case, there are at least five parties (myself included) to be blamed (not that establishing blame at this point does much good).
When you are on the receiving end of communications, step back and consider whether or not it appears you are getting all of the relevant information. Are there facts that you wish you had that might change the overall conclusion?
Also, “consider the source”. If you read with a critical eye, you will begin to learn who communicates to you in a “fair and balanced” approach versus those that are “leading the witness” with a slanted view of the facts driven at trying to reach a spurious conclusion.
When you are the sender, make sure that you take the extra time to communicate properly. Sometimes, it is as easy as an introductory sentence or two in an email about the spreadsheet or word document that is attached. Too often, people simply say, “See attached” without a word as to what they wanted the reader to take away from the attachment. Proper synthesis of information will make for better communications, quicker and more appropriate action, and ultimately a more profitable company.
If your business could benefit from fractional CFO services, I would welcome the chance to speak with you. Please give me a call at (314) 863-6637 or send an email to For more information, visit www.homza.com
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