In our fast paced world we communicate a lot every day. We exchange facts, need quick answers, need information, discuss ideas and problem solve everyday. The question is, are you wasting time or loosing value in communication by making this fundamental but easy to fix mistake?
You can categorize all communication needed in the day to day into two types.
I call them 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional.
2 dimensional communication is the short answer conversations. The yes/no. The number questions. This is the quick and easy communication that should take no longer than it does to formulate the question and speak or type the text.
In 2D communication there should be a direct question leading strait to the answer needed. These are perfect for email or text message. Adverbs are to be avoided at all cost. “Very” “a lot” “fast” are clouding 2D communication.
Text message question: How many units got mailed last week?
Wrong answer: (Calls the questioner) Hey so the annoying machine had many break downs, but the post office was super cheap so we sent out a lot.
This phone call answer communicated absolutely nothing. “Annoying machine” is an opinion. “Many break down” is a perception and is relative to unknown past machine performance. And “sent out a lot “ means nothing other than bias opinion. A lot compared to what?
Correct 2D answer to a 2D question would be a text simply saying “1200”.
3 dimensional communication is the more rich conversation. Relationship building, creative thinking, product reviews and anything emotional based. These are discussions where problem solving is involved. Many times this communication is best when more people than 2 people or all effected people can be involved. This will save potential extra 3D communication as this type is much more time consuming.
This is where you want to ask open ended questions. Avoid yes or no questions and answers as they will automatically end flow. This type of communication is best on the phone or better in person as tone and body language are large part of what is communicated.
Top 5 communication SINS!
5 – Not asking for clarity. If you are asked something that you are not sure of, ASK! Not getting that clarification will lead to poor or wrong information and unnecessary excess wasted time.
4 – Answer ALL questions. There is nothing worse than sending a 2D message with three questions and receiving two answers back. This will be sure frustration, lack of info and another repeat message of the same request.
3 – Set time for 3D communication if you don’t have the focus or time at that moment. 3D required your brain and attention. If someone asks you in a 2d format a 3D question respond with potential times to have 3D communication. Don’t send a 700 word text.
2 – Update your email subject title as a thread evolves. We all use email and the subject title is intended to give a summary of the email to come. We have all seen the family email regarding Christmas plans titled “Uncle Fred’s birthday”
1 – The NUMBER ONE communication sin is – Mixing 2D and 3D communication!
If you try and share 2D info in a 3D format you waste your time. 2D information doesn’t need meetings a week from now or long conversations. And if someone asks you a 2D question don’t go off into stories, opinions or excuses. Give a 2D answer. This is a personal pet peeve of mine. And If you try and pack 3D communication into a 2D format you are going to loose all richness. Face to face communication is 7% of what you say, 38% your tone and 55% you body language.
If you text or email a 3D conversation you are loosing 93% of the intent.
So when you share this and someone asks you where you learnt this from, don’t give them your opinion about my writing style, simply say:
“I leant this from the Ashton Fisher University”