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Sunday
Oct052008

Effective communication

Anglo-American business communication has evolved a terse and concise style that is accepted as conventional wisdom.  However, I'm not convinced that saving the time of a few senior managers is really an effective approach to communicating organizational goals .

Why?

I have learned both through instruction and experience that to communicate with those of differing backgrounds and cultures that saying the same thing in multiple ways, providing additional context and painting rich word pictures are essential. If I do it and equally if those that I am communicating with do it then there is a greater prospect of mutual understanding.

Surely, business effectiveness is better served by waffling to mutual comprehension than by adopting the cultural norm of clipped, brief but turgid messages that are misunderstood.

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Reader Comments (2)

If you have only internal communication or communication within a group that has shared experiences before and therefore have an understanding of each other languages.

I think you have to differentiate between internal and communication to external customers. With external customers you also have to factor in their expectations as well as that they in general are not so cultural aware as you are. They tend not to leave room for cultural differences or interpetations. The cultural awareness in the communication rests soley on the company and that can prove to be a challenge.

October 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNinja Lindquist

I agree, 100%.

I would even go further, to suggest that organisations that focus on saving the time of a few senior managers using a terse/ambiguous communication style actually fail to save the time of a few senior managers - and end up wasting everyone's time.

All that is often acheived through suppression of rich language is saving the attention of senior managers. This is disastrous!

Those worthy of senior management should have both the intellectual horsepower and the personal commitment to process high volumes of explicit, vividly-expressed information inputs.

Failure to allow critical detail and supporting evidence to surface at the decision-making layer is at the root cause of many failures - and certainly a significant cause of confusion and time-wasting at all levels of organisation.

October 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTim Williams

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