For whatever reason, I’ve been thinking a lot about communication styles lately. Public relations is a field all about communication, messages, and how messages are received. But what happens when the messages are ambiguous?
Before I majored in journalism and English as an undergraduate, I majored in communication. It was fascinating learning about all the different ways that people interact with each other. I was particularly interested in interpersonal communication. One of the concepts that stuck in my head was language that had multiple contexts or meanings. For example, you might tell a significant other “I hate it when you are always gone,” but really mean “I love you and miss you.” Or, you might tell a mechanic “I’ve had some issues with mechanics before,” and mean “Don’t mess up my car.”
My communication classes made me take a hard look at the way I communicate with others. Are you clear in your communication? Or, is there room for interpretation?
Since learning about these communication styles, I’ve learned to be much more direct with my communication. I found that I could bypass a lot of miscommunication by getting to what I see as the “heart” of the matter. If you are angry, what is the deeper reason? If you want closure, what needs to happen?
This can be applied to business as well. Are you clear with your communication with clients? With your boss? With co-workers? Avoiding language that can be interpreted several ways can help accomplish goals much more effectively.