“I couldn’t hear you over the 36,972 other messages I’ve heard today.”
In its purest sense, communication means putting one’s ideas across to another — which cannot happen if the audience never receives what we’re putting out there. Or worse, the audience receives the communication, but doesn’t understand it the way we intended.
Ahhh… the challengers of effective communications — those nasty things called barriers that inhibit, prohibit and just plain get in the way. Here’s what barriers look like…
Overload — Too much information! To cope with all the messages received daily, hourly, minute…ly (?), people only pay attention to the messages that impact them directly and ignore the rest.
Complexity — The nature of language itself and the way it’s sometimes used can lead to misunderstandings. We have to keep in mind: Words don’t always carry precisely the same meaning in the mind of our audiences as in ours.
Noise — Anything that interferes with the reception of our message. Sometimes a literal barrier (audience never gets the memo, letter, email); sometimes an emotional, cultural or psychological barrier (the person’s background, viewpoint or attitude differ significantly from ours).
So what can you do?
If you learn nothing else from us, remember these three things: pyramid, KISS and shoes.
Communications are only successful if your audience understands and reacts in the way that achieves your objective. Pay attention to your audiences’ action, or lack thereof, and adjust your communications accordingly. Uncover the barriers that are impeding your communications and overcome the hurdles.