Ever have one of those moments when you realize that what you said was taken differently than you intended? We all have. Sometimes it happens because we “stuck our foot in our mouth.” More often it happens because we all communicate differently, and that results in misunderstandings.
Every relationship has communication at its core. Think about the different ways we communicate with friends versus our co-workers, or even our significant other. As adults we should learn to adapt and gauge our effectiveness. Though our communication styles may change over time, and with circumstances, what remains is the need to convey our thoughts and be understood.
Our workplaces are becoming more and more diverse – ethnically, culturally and multi-generationally. All of these diversities present challenges when choosing the proper words, tone and delivery. What is well received by one may be completely offensive to another. So, how do you know what to say? Sometimes we don’t, but we should think before plowing through and delivering a message. Always ask for affirmation that the intended message was understood.
No matter our age or cultural background, we are all human and want to be heard. The feedback we receive when our message is heard can be gratifying. We become more connected to each other. Those connections allow us to be more collaborative and productive members of our workforce and society.
Some people are direct, don’t mince words and are blunt. Others are more subtle in their delivery and ask leading questions to achieve getting their message across. Many industry professionals are famous for using jargon or buzzwords when trying to explain a technical matter. These industry specific words are not universally known and cause confusion. The English language is very complex and same or similar words can mean very different things. Knowing we are all different, we should all be prepared to navigate the different communication styles.
Ensure that your messages are without bias towards another communication or generational style. The use of “when I came up through the ranks” should be left out of communication. Business is far different today than it was even five years ago, so touting the rough and tumble experience as the way to go often falls on deaf ears. Instead, enlist the ideas of the others through brainstorming sessions and open discussions.
There are a number of assessments available for use to ascertain your personal communication style and the style of others you work with. Companies use these tools to aid in the cultivation of a more vibrant and sound culture. No one style is “right,” all different styles are needed to bring ideas and projects to successful outcomes. Likewise, what motivates some, may stress others out. These polar opposites are present in every workplace and every collaborative project.
At the core of every idea, in every industry, project, or initiative is the ability for one person’s idea to be a component of the bigger picture. Everyone has a role, every idea has a place. We need to be open and listen, but we must also be able to communicate in order to have complete understanding. I95
Rayma McRoberts, Senior Manager at Weyrich, Cronin & Sorra, Chartered, has over 29 years of public accounting experience. She joined the firm in 2002 as a Manager after a 10-year term at a national firm. Rayma holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from Towson University. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants. Rayma is a Board member of the Upper Bay Counseling and Support Services, a member of the Top of the Bay Business Women’s group, and a member of the Havre de Grace, Cecil County and Harford County Chambers of Commerce, a softball coach for Havre de Grace Little League and the Chiefs travel teams. She was a 2013 Cecil County Chamber ATHENA award nominee and 2014 Baltimore SmartCEO Power Player finalist.
Weyrich, Cronin & Sorra