Sometimes it is what’s unsaid that you need to listen closest for. Whilst being a good skill to develop in other areas of your life, this is a principle vital for effective business communication.
It is important we pick up the key messages conveyed within each piece of communication, even when it is not explicit. We need to develop a filter for the ‘trivial many’ to identify the ‘vital few’.
In my video this week, I explain when I first learnt this skill, demonstrate how easy it is to miss the essence of a piece of communication and identify how you can go about doing it for yourself from now on.
For more tips on effective communication, you can read this article on getting the most from your team.
As well as this, you can find out more on ensuring your own communication is precise and results-oriented here.
Prefer to read rather than watch and listen? No problem – here’s everything I said in the video as text:
What is the top takeaway for yourself from this discussion today?
This is the question I invariably ask my team members and my clients at the end of a meeting.
Today I want to talk about the importance of the essence, of communication. I am sure you would agree that there is so much communication happening around us, with so much detail and trivia, that many times the core, the essence, gets lost. And when it gets lost, it can lead to some serious wastage of time, money, and other resources.
The question is if you understand the importance of identifying the ‘vital few’ from the ‘trivial many’, the importance of joining the dots, of what’s being said and not said, and understanding the crux, the point of the communication.
I understood that, in one of my MBA lessons, where our strategy teacher was talking about the importance of strategic communication, and how to come to the point, to understand what is being said.
According to him, the core of the message should capture who, when, where, how, and more importantly, why it matters.
To make us experience that, he gave us an assignment. He said, “I’m going to tell you a story with some facts, and I want you to write down the core of this piece”.
We got ready, with our pen and paper, to identify the course. This is how he went about the story.
He said ‘Keith Brown, principal of Kingsford Hills High school, has announced today, that the entire faculty will be going to Oxford, to attend this conference, which is about innovative teaching methods. Amongst the speakers, would be leading psychologists Laura Mead, college president Andrew Goodridge, and education minister Keith Hutchkins.’
As he was talking about the story, we were busy writing the core, and students started sharing some of the course, like next Thursday, innovative teaching methods, conference in Oxford. Somebody would say leading psychologist Laura Mead, to talk about innovative teaching methods, and so on.
With every piece that was being shared, our professor was getting a little restless, and he was like “No, no, no. Guys, you’re missing the point. This is all the detail. This is the trivial many, but what’s the vital few? What is the main thing?’
And he said, “Sit back, look at it. The simple essence, or the core, really is, that there will be no school on Thursday”.
At that point, it stopped me in my tracks and made me think hard, that it was so easy for me to get distracted in all the details, of these speakers and what’s happening, and when that is happening, but why does it matter? What does it mean?
The point for you to remember is, that when people are communicating with you, there are lots of said and unsaid messages, and you have to listen attentively and go deep to ask yourself this question.
What’s the top take away, from this discussion, for myself?
What do I need to hear here, which is being said or unsaid?
And as you go deep, you will be able to identify the essence, which helps you to move in the right direction.
I hope that helps, remember to check back here regularly so I can provide you with top practical tips, which you can apply in your business and your life and move forward in a lot more streamlined fashion.
If you would like to discuss how we can help you to streamline your business communication even further, helping you to take the next step up for yourself and your business, please give us a call. We’d love to hear from you.