Have you ever had something to happen and suddenly you are seeing it crop up in multiple situations?
This week I had 2 events occur, whereas I had to get in contact with the support team in that business.
The first involved my bank. Earlier, I had set up new business bank accounts. Currently I was attempting to have them tied together. The goal was to be to access all of our businesses, viewing them and paying bills from one login. Yesterday, on my 3rd call, it finally dawned up me, they were on a completely different page. We were miscommunicating about the situation. The overlooked factor was they were different businesses. They were just assuming they knew what I was talking about and they didn’t ask the right questions.
The 2nd incident occurred after a software update for an RPG (role playing game) Wildstar, that I play online. Wildstar is run by the gaming software company, NCSOFT, whom I was talking to about my issue. It resulted in some funny looking graphically issues, which were preventing me from playing the game in certain areas. It quickly felt like I was going in circles. At one point, I realized I was being given busy work and not real solutions to fix the problem. I let them know I wasn't happy about them tuning me out. Because they weren't listening, nor were they asking the right questions, I had to remind them what they were suppose to be helping me with.
Later thinking about these two situations I realized both were due to miscommunication.
Shortly after that I sat down with a fellow BNI member. Because she is in a different chapter I had only typically seen her at our regional leadership meetings. She asked me to sum up what she did. I was close, but not completely right. Which lead us to the discussion of people making judgements and not asking the right questions.
I think you will agree, we know how important communication is. Yet people keep missing out, not really hearing what they should be hearing. Now I know you have heard a THOUSAND times, Listening is critical in good communication. Yet it is obvious from the situations above that listening by itself isn’t working. It is time we got to the heart of this.
Yes, listening is key. Yet even though we assume we are listening, we are still not getting it right. Why is this? Is it because we know it all or even think we do? NO! It’s because our brain has that pattern already there, therefore we let preconceived notions color our future interaction. Whether the assumption happens with the same client or the next client, we apply past situations to all of our interactions. Instead we should be treating each person/interaction as unique and individual.
How do we make sure we are on track? Listening is the first part. Think about why you are listening. They have a problem or issue or something they want done. Your inclination will be to jump in with your advice, solution, or information. STOP, doing that. Instead, pause and assume you didn’t understand them. Your next step should be to sum up their problem or issue - here is the key - in your own words. Don’t make the mistake of just parroting back to them what they said. Ask questions. Ask for clarification. Draw them out further so that they are telling you more about the situation.
Recently in my BNI chapter, we began an exercise to make sure what is being said it what is being heard. Our chapter leader asked us to work with each other and let the other person know, what we heard that person asked for in their 45 seconds. On the face of it, this sounds like a good idea. Yet, what I realized, was that my ask was just parroted back. They were not putting my ask into their own words or requesting further clarifications. Which makes me wonder are there still steps missing? How can we be sure we are clearly communicating?
Learning requires that you absorb the essence and relay that in your own words.
Communication is a 2 way street
Once I realized where the problems were originating, I knew that the way we exchange communication had to change. My experience with working with people in business is all about communication. If the bank and gaming software company will apply some of these skills it would make for a more productive troubleshooting experience.
Sum up - don’t parrot
Ask questions - get them to expand on situation
Repeat - keep at it
Keep repeating as many times as needed to. Until that other person says, YES!! That is it.
As a business coach and consult often times I will repeat, listen, sum, question, repeat until I get to that pain for my client. One size does not fit all and it’s important to me that working with me is tailored to your unique situation and frustrations. If you have had difficulties recently or even in the past, perhaps it is time to step out of your box and look for alternate fixes. Consider hiring Custom Growth Group, start with your complimentary consult.
I believe my challenge now is -can I do this in the reverse. As the person with the pain can I lead them to listen, sum, ask the right questions and keep repeating it until I holler, YES!! That is it.
As people in business, we should take this to heart, it will make our transaction between us and our clients more productive. It also shows that you care, which is critical in building relationships. All these things will lead to an increase in our bottom line. As people in business isn’t that our ultimate goal.
What examples of gross miscommunication within or outside of your business can you share?
-update: As of release this newsletter, my issue was resolved with the help of the team at NCSoft.
Check out my past blogs. See you next month.