How can leaders tackle the problem of poor communication?
- By: Ed Peters
- Oct 20, 2019
How often do we hear people say that communication is the biggest problem within our business? We think that people don't understand what we're trying to say, and often feel that this is damaging the business moving forward. Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is the study of what creates Excellence, and better communication and understanding lie at its heart. By paying greater attention to exactly how we interact, we can achieve far better results as individuals and organisations. Here is an idea that you can apply to your daily communication. The examples below are from a group of ideas called NLP "Pre-Suppositions."
1. Respect others' Map of the World
We can only live in our own head; our reality is made up of how we filter the millions of pieces of information that bombard our senses every second. We filter by representing the external world to ourselves by way of our background, education, religion, traditions, values, beliefs or previous experiences. Everyone does the same and their "map of the world" may therefore be entirely different from each other. Seek to appreciate and value how others view a situation and consider why that might be so. A question like "What makes you think that?" is much more useful than simply dismissing someone's thought as irrelevant.
2. The Behaviour is not the Person
Be prepared to separate the person from the behaviour: sometimes, behaviours that strike us as unusual or difficult are placed there by the subconscious to protect that person – from failure, from embarrassment or from revealing a lack of knowledge or confidence, perhaps. In such situations, asking "You seem very annoyed by this; could you tell me what makes you annoyed?" will open communication, whereas "How dare you speak to me like this!" will not.
3. The Meaning of a Message is the Response it Elicits At some time, most of us have said: "I've told him a thousand times, and he still won't understand!" However, NLP asks you to look at this differently: if someone doesn't understand, perhaps you haven't explained it in a way he can grasp. Take that responsibility back, and you will be surprised by the results. When explaining something to someone, you might use phrases such as "Can I check how comfortable you are with what I have just said?" This allows the other person to check their understanding and ask for clarification, if needed.
4. People have all the Resources they Need
Coaching asks people to think for themselves, to come up with options to tackle an issue or achieve a goal. Whenever a client says "I can't think of any options" he almost invariably can! Give people that chance and awaken their creativity by allowing them to articulate anything that comes into their head. Indeed, it's sometimes the silly ideas that start a process that leads to a wonderful idea, so that idea should never be quashed by an over-hasty "That's ridiculous!" You might instead ask "What could you do to take this project forward? Name anything that occurs to you, and we can think it through afterwards."
Therefore, by "pre-supposing" how we might communicate better, we give ourselves and others a way of seeing and hearing things differently.
Try it - and see what a difference it makes.
GE Coaching runs NLP Practitioner Workshops to train people in NLP skills; contact us for details of our courses.