You Are A Communication Barrier

A coworker was recently ranting at a teammate of mine and said “It’s very clear that I’m being misunderstood” as though all of the fault was on my teammate. Part of your job as a communicator is to make your message understandable. If your messages are often misunderstood then you’re probably the problem, not your audience.
I vividly remember my speech professor telling us that only about 60% of verbal communication is actually heard and understood. 40% of the message is lost because of the hearers frame of reference. (I could be wrong on the exact numbers but it was something like 60/40. Apparently the percentage I heard and understood wasn’t numerical). The most frustrating thing about that for me as a communicator is that I don’t get to pick the part that the listener will understand.
Here are some things that work for me:
1) Use shorter sentences.
2) Get to the point. Only include what is necessary to get your point across.
3) Reread your communications and put yourself in your audience’s shoes.
Whether your writing and speaking is only directed at your coworkers or if you’re creating marketing for the masses, effective communication is a real skill. We all need to strive to be more effective communicators.

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