Sunday, September 20, 2015

How to Communicate Effectively in Digital Dynamic?

Great communication is not to create more gaps but to bridge the difference and encourage creativity.

The speed of change is significantly increasing. Decentralization, globalization, and diversified workforces can all be practical reasons for communicating barriers. How do you communicate a common message across the globe with empathy, and, in particular, make sure the message you want to communicate resonates effectively?

The communication should tailor your audience, so the solution lies in changing how the message is delivered: There are multiple causes for poor communication, but by far the problem most often is the inability of the "speaker" to adequately accept the real nature of the message or the environment. When someone cannot accept the situation as it really is, the message is often "altered" to fit the need of the speaker. Instead of how you want to communicate, it would be better to understand what method or means or mode of communication will make the receiver comfortable. The biggest barrier has been to say not the way others wanted to listen. Communication barriers are influenced by sociocultural traits as well. So, respect your audience's cognitive diversity, and try to send the message which appeals to them. You need to tailor what you say when you say it, and how to say it to the audience.  For example, over communication achieves nothing, communication for communication’s sake fails on all levels, face to face works well unless you are trying to get a consistent message to the large group of people. The trick is to keep it short, concise and focused, being considerate of culture, personal circumstance, and political sensitivities. Interpersonal communication is often influenced and sometimes hindered by social customs, psychology, and learned behavior. What do these all have in common, and how can they be overcome? Simply put "risk." Risking a little of yourself by putting down your barrier, often encourages others to do the same. Taking the time to know a person’s story can often help improve communication and trust.

Creative communication is often more effective in today’s paradoxical and ambiguous business dynamic: There are descriptive communication and creative communication. A descriptive communicator can well articulate the circumstances and describe the situation clearly, it’s efficient at considerably static and siloed industrial age. Because, often the thing is “as-is,” for years without dramatic change, and the audience is often the homogeneous group who gets used to such hierarchical style of communication with black and white reasoning. However, digital means the increasing speed of changes, the knowledge life cycle is significantly shortened, and today’s workforce is multigenerational, multicultural and multi-devicing, creative communicators can connect the heterogeneous audience via philosophical insight, vivid metaphors or universal wisdom. They not just articulate what happens today, but convey the vision of “to be,” because the future is what really matters. Such communication style is more open and interactive to bridge the gaps and connect the minds and hearts.

Build strong teams: A lot of time and energy is spent on keeping and maintaining that wall instead of developing honest and genuine relationships with people. Once people see you as genuine, the freedom to communicate results in a far more effective system. Communication improves when team development is at its peak. Want more effective communication? Build stronger teams and make effective cross-functional communication. For example, if something important needs to be communicated across departmental boundaries, those doing the communicating might "leave out" information they deem trivial or unimportant, when in fact, it is pertinent. Why do they leave it out? They will assert it doesn't matter, but the reality is that it might be important, and it may implicate someone or the department in general. These omissions lead to mistrust and further poor communication. In addition, open communication doesn’t mean rumor-mongering or gossip encouraging, on the opposite, it’s about brainstorming how to bring wisdom to the workforce and build a positive culture to improve organizational maturity. The biggest barriers to effective communication, and to championing change include, but not limited to
1) the need to be the smartest person in the room;
2) not wanting to give up control;
3) not taking the time to explain your vision so that others have a chance to buy into it;
4) expecting others to follow even if you don't lead.

Well mix the richness of multiple digital communication channels: Information overload can be a major barrier to communication. It varies from person to person, some can take more information, others can't. The best way is to make the information crisp and simple so that it is communicated well. For communicating changes, the richest communication channel you can possibly use is important. It’s important to leverage multiple digital channels and methods to communicate both via virtual communication channels and face-to-face meetings. Also, communication is a two-way street, it takes a while for two-way communication if handled properly. After all, everyone likes to be part of the proceedings and learn. How do you overcome those barriers? Overcoming barriers that originate from the sender seem far more substantial than the other communication components. Issues with the sender (or anyone for that matter) are usually deep-seated and often layered under a form of denial. Overcoming this requires a very high emotional intelligence level since it probes at the core of the ego. Many times people are so set in preparing their answer or set in justifying their own answer, that they are unable to truly listen and be open.

Authenticity is important to engage with others: It's only when we lead with our true selves that we're able to connect meaningfully, build trust, and truly engage with others' authentic selves. Lack of trust is an often overlooked barrier to communication. Words and techniques won't matter if the relationship between the giver and sender has been damaged. Leaders, or those who are sending the message, must have integrity, openness, and insight. Usually, in the workplace, some managers put up a barrier to being judgmental. Without leaving an open mind, and allowing the individual to finish their message, they would have taken a stand. If communication has to develop fully, it is essential that the person communicating should also be equally aware of what he/she wants to communicate, how he/she communicates and above all ensure that he/she has communicated correctly. Respect in any situation goes a long way in getting your message across, however difficult. Also ensuring that you are using a respectful tone in delivering the message to the individual is important.

Regarding communication of change and new initiatives, it's very important to remember that change occurs on a continuum, and you are ahead of the pack because you already know what the change is going to be. You need to help your audience wrap their brains around what will change, what the timeline is, what the benefits are and what the desired outcomes of the change are. What your audience really cares about is what-does-this-mean-to-them. Ask yourself 5W + 1H questions: “What messages do I want to convey? Why is it important to convey this? Who is the target audience? When & Where can I communicate? And how to communicate it more effectively?” Great communication is not to create more gaps but to bridge the difference and encourage creativity.


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