Life’s all about communication. You cannot not communicate. Everything you do and say is an expression of yourself, and what you communicate can help or hinder you. It’s vital that you become aware of what and how you communicate, and take control.
Communication necessarily has two sides: the sender = you, and the receiver. In order for you to gain something out of what you communicate, you must know who your receiver is at all times. And you must adapt your communication to pass his filters and elicit the response you want.
The are tons of tips and good advice out there on how to understand others. Several branches of science are dedicated specifically to this. Many more are dedicated to communication and all its forms and mediums. I’m no going to repeat any stuff you can find in Google’s search results, and I’m not going to waste your time with truisms. What I want is to simplify and ease some basic principles into your memory. Ready?
People are either global or detailed
When facing a new project, setting a goal or solving a problem, some people are quick to understand the big picture, while others prefer to work with smaller details. Some see the forest from a bird’s eye view, while others focus on the individual trees.
When you work together with someone, or when you want to make a point, you must first know the preferred scale of your receiver.
If he prefers to work with the big picture, and you launch straight into the details of your proposition, he might be easily confused and overwhelmed, or even get the impression you’re this chaotic and disorganized wreck.
On the other hand, if he prefers to work with details and you keep presenting the big picture and the wide-scaled implications, he might become impatient and unfocused as he waits for you to make a point and get to the practical bits.
Globally oriented people at their worst tend to procrastinate and dwell on the possible repercussions of whatever they have to do, reshaping their goals endlessly without ever stepping into action. You can spot them quickly if they tend to overuse expressions such as “in a nutshell”, “basically”, “overview”, “generally”, “essentially” and so on.
Detail oriented people have the bad tendency to dive straight into a task without knowing the purpose or caring for the impact of their actions on the end result. They frequently use words such as “specifically”, “first, second, third”, “precisely”, “plan”, “next”, and so on.
When it comes to teams, it’s very important to distribute the roles accordingly. Know this: globally oriented people are great at managing detail oriented people. The first easily keep tasks organized toward a well defined goal, while the last happily carry out the specific work and baby steps.
When you’re communicating to someone, know his preferred scale and adapt your communication accordingly to reach the maximum effect. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to convince your sweetheart to buy a new couch, take on a difficult project with your team, get someone new aboard for a project or just persuade that pesky neighbor to leave you alone. Scale matters, and knowing this makes your communication easier.
More such practical simplifications of communication principles are in the pipe. Stay tuned.