Do You Need a Decoder Ring?

“Be sure to drink your Ovaltine”

My very favorite Christmas movie is A Christmas Story.

It’s set in the early 1950’s, before TV was in every household, and it’s a classic.

The story is focused on a 10-year old boy, Ralphie, his Christmas dream, and his day- to-day life.

One day, Ralphie sends a coupon for a special decoder gadget, in order to participate in top secret messages, based on a daily radio show he listens to every night (The Little Orphan Annie Show). He’s so excited when it arrives in the mail that he promptly goes to his secret hiding place (the bathroom) to decode the message.

With abundant enthusiasm and excitement, he very dramatically decodes the super secret message… only to find out it’s a commercial for Ovaltine chocolate milk.

It’s such a let down!

What does this have to do with communicating to be understood?

When working with clients and their teams, I often feel like I need a decoder ring to understand their lingo, acronyms, and industry jargon. As an executive coach, it’s my job to figure it all out, and, like Ralphie in A Christmas Story, I’m often let down that all those words and jargon can be communicated in basic everyday language. However, I choose to learn the language to better work with my clients.

I realize we all have some “industry” language. Calling our desired behaviors “fundamentals” is a perfect example in our Momentum culture. It’s not that this is a bad thing. It’s our accountability to make sure we know our audience when using special lingo, and to make sure we provide them with a decoder ring.

The more we can all speak the same language, the better opportunity we have to accelerate the communication and results.

The other practice in communicating to be understood is to check in with the people I’m communicating with, to ensure that I’m being clear. I often find that when I do this, there’s always room for me to communicate better. I have to remember that I’m speaking through the other person’s core values, beliefs, and experiences. We automatically interpret what makes sense to us.

It’s no wonder why people experience breakdowns in communication often. We forget to check in to make sure we are communicating to be understood. If I can appreciate how others might interpret what I’m saying, I’m more likely to communicate more effectively.

Does your audience need a decoder ring or are you giving it to them?

We are sharing our decoder ring with you on February 14th, 2020. Come join us for our 3rd Annual Summit that we offer at no charge to you.

“The art of communication is the language of leadership.”James Humes

Cheers to the beginning of 2020!

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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