The sharing of information within a business plays an important role for its operation, and is key to reach goals. This flow of information could be described as a link that is meant to unite everyone’s effort towards a common objective, whilst utilizing each one’s unique abilities. Communication can be a real game changer.
With a team of highly skilled people, one would assume that great results are guaranteed. However, in order to achieve the desired goal, there must be a good management of said people. The world’s best developer could still deliver the wrong product, if the instructions were unclear. On the contrary, when the steps to build something are accessible and the desired outcome is clear to everyone, regardless of the time it might take, the end result will be accurate. These examples prove how communication can influence the result.
A perfect example of miscommunication
Humans perceive information in many different ways. In the business world, the two widely used ways to transfer it is in written form or verbally. A third way would be body language, because sometimes words do not paint the picture clear enough. The best way to communicate would be to combine all forms, ideally by adjusting them for every individual, because each person processes information differently. Someone might understand written instructions, while another prefers video tutorials. Both should be approached accordingly.
On the other side of the scope, we ourselves must become better receivers of information when someone dedicates their time to communicate with us.
Observe and respect
In business, when someone tries to communicate, it is because there’s information that needs to be passed accurately. Furthermore, the speaker is making an effort and spends resources to achieve this, so it is a common courtesy to respect each other’s time in the process, and pay as much attention to the details as possible. If the conversation is done in person, it would be wise to keep notes or ask for a complimentary email, in order not to miss anything afterwards.
It is only human to forget things. Before assuming you never received any information about a matter, do a recheck on the information you have. The answer might as well be hidden in there.
Do not offend people’s job
There will always be instances, during the process, where something is missing. Instructions aren’t fail-proof. Sometimes they are not written well, sometimes they do not cover edge cases. And because Murphy’s law exists, this always happens at a crucial point. In any case, if the situation demands a clarification from someone, be polite. Not everyone is good at explaining things, or maybe they forgot. Refrain from being aggressive when asking for information. Being polite will only make your colleague more eager to help you.
Another case is to consider the fruit of one’s labour as imperfect or wrong (this can be pretty common among QA and developers). It is crucial to respect the effort made and communicate an imperfection politely and constructively, rather than insulting the other person.
Ask the right questions
Regardless of the amount of accessible information, there will always be questions. It should be encouraged to ask and answer questions, it only leads to a better understanding of things and a higher quality result.
The way of expressing the question should be fully adaptable το the person who receives it. Thinking of what needs to be described is easy, while putting the words together can be very challenging. Keeping under consideration what was said earlier, that not everyone perceives information equally, can lead to some incomprehensible questions. Best case scenario, the answer will be a plead to rephrase. Worst case, a wrong answer will be given.
Before asking a question, read it under consideration that the receiver will not share the same amount of information as you. Make sure it is comprehensive. Asking the right questions demands versatility.
Everyone is proud of their creation, and you should be too. Achieving something is a great step towards becoming better. However, nothing is built out of sheer perfection. Being open to receiving feedback is a virtue. It will lead to an improved, more user friendly and higher quality product. In the scope of a business project, acknowledging that your end result can be improved will urge you to rebuild it better and deliver a much more satisfying outcome. Naturally, not all feedback is useful. The moral is to receive all information gracefully, and process it wisely.