Common Terms and Clarity

Click above for Executive Coach Martha Lynn Mangum’s introduction

COVID-19, social distancing, wear your mask, Zoom, PPE…

and the list goes on. If we saw these terms just 7 months ago, we would have no context or understanding of what they mean. We would wonder what the acronym for COVID-19 meant, wonder why we are talking about Halloween masks, and possibly think that PPE has something to do with athletics.

These may not be new words in our vocabulary, but the meanings are certainly new. This is now a common language that the entire world understands. Can you imagine if you were on a 6-month retreat and re-entered society to this new language? There would be a lot of explaining required.

Think about the terms that are selective to your industry.

Do you consider who your audience is when you use this language? If we don’t, we lose people in the communication. At Momentum Consulting, our greatest lesson and coaching tool is Listening. If we are not paying attention to how people might hear us, then our communication is at risk of being misunderstood.

“The voice of the intellect is a soft one, but it does not rest until it has gained a hearing.” -Sigmund Freud

Here are the steps to support a successful communication:

  1. Determine the outcome you want in the communication
  2. Know your audience and consider how they may hear you
  3. Be concise and clear in your communication
  4. Check for understanding

There are measurable impacts in organizations when miscommunications are high. Not only does performance decline, but so does morale. Employees experience increased levels of stress as well. These outcomes were found in a study by Economist Intelligence Unit called “Communication Barriers in the Modern Workplace.”

The most interesting part of this study is the acknowledgement of the multiple communication options that technology provides us. However, the most successful form of communication is still an in-person experience. When we are in-person, we have immediate opportunity to read our audience for understanding and check in moment to moment.

With that said, many people are experiencing a pause in consistent human interaction with their team. The best way to support communication during this time is to encourage video conferencing and, most importantly, be diligent in checking for understanding.

Now, more than ever, is a great opportunity to master the art of communicating to be understood!

Take great care,

Martha Lynn

Fundamental of the Week #9: COMMUNICATE TO BE UNDERSTOOD Communicate in the least complicated way, so that your audience understands you. This applies to all communication: Spoken, written, illustrated, etc. We are accountable for what people take from our communication.

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