“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”~Confucius
As an Executive Coach, I get the opportunity and privilege to witness effective – and ineffective – communication.
Clients often ask us to observe them in conversations. We facilitate leadership team discussions and retreats. We sit on the sidelines of dialogues with no agenda other than helping people understand each other better and move forward together more effectively, and we’ve learned key points to what works well and what doesn’t.
The most important aspect of effective communication? Simplicity. But we insist, at times, on making it complicated.
When you are trying to explain yourself, or bring someone else over to a point of view, it’s very easy to get caught in details and specifics or to ignore details and specifics. To spell out more than is necessary or less than is necessary, and to lose others in the process. When you are close – too close – to what you know and understand, it can be nearly impossible to make thoughts and rationales clear to others. You might lose perspective that what makes sense to you might be muddy to others. You might forget that others don’t have an inside view to what is so obvious to you.
We’re everything but simple, and it does everything but succeed.
Life is, and can be, really simple, but we do make it complicated. Often because we don’t understand it from a deep enough perspective, as well as a broad enough viewpoint, to describe it intelligibly, we may get lost in particulars or ignore information. We may be swept up in our excitement (or anger, or resentment, or many other emotions) and feel that others shouldn’t have to know everything and comprehend everything to agree with us. Or we may just not grasp the full picture and not be willing to admit that.
A key to positive productive communication is simplicity, and there is much about the way our minds work, and the ways our emotions and outlook can get the best of us, that can get in the way of that simplicity. We need to push through our own biases, interpretations, and determinations to be as simple as possible. Not complex.
How have you learned to be more simple, and effective, in your communication?
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