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Communication: that thing we forget that will make you gain in impact and authenticity

Do you sometimes feel misunderstood or frustrated with certain people? Would you even talk about misunderstandings? The impression that people don't follow or understand you poorly, despite your desire to do well? Sometimes, you even feel resistance or avoidance.

No fewer than three of my clients came with a similar story in one month! "People are dragging their feet to the one-on-ones I just set up... While I just want to support them." Or: "I'm seen as the one who's always reprimanding. I just want us to make progress!"

Team meeting with leader communicating
Increase your communication impact - Credit: Adobe Stock

Like them, you are on the lookout for the latest article on improving communication, and you practice, as best you can, listening and empathy, and the art of feedback, all the while being mindful of your non-verbal language. You even try to give meaning to action by reconnecting it to the organization's mission. And nothing works! This discomfort follows you and makes you question your actual skills.

So what's wrong? In "digging" with my clients, there is a straightforward thing they all missed that can change everything.

The limits of good communication practices

Good communication practices in the workplace have been disseminated for a long time and are recognized as performance levers. Plenty of techniques or tools exist. So what makes it not work?

Communication is the process by which a message is understood/interpreted by a receiver. If you've been reading this blog for a while, I won't surprise you by saying that the receiver will create their own little reality with your message (read the 5 secrets of success and enjoyment at work by signing up). Excerpts: my boss wants to control me with his meetings. Or she judges me as incompetent with her regular feedback!

Communication is a much more complex process than a string of well-thought-out tools to improve it. EVERYTHING COMMUNICATES! Including that significant part of communication that remains implicit. Did you know that the weight of verbal communication is a modest 7%?

The power of intention

When all the good practices are not enough, a trick changes the game.

The fundamental question is, what is your intention when you communicate. To release your frustration, satisfy your need for control, or allow your colleague to develop? While they might have a small chance of being stated when taking a position, our intentions quickly become implicit. Worse, they mix with your personality and freeze you into an image or a reputation.

My three coached clients all realized they had not clearly stated their intentions. By not giving the reason that leads them to take a particular stance, they leave a vast field open to interpretation.

Of course, this forces one to question one's own functioning and the why of it—your way of structuring and organizing, your vision, your values, etc. And there, of course, you might fall back on your need for control, which might be worth questioning. But you will also probably fall back on your desire to make the team progress, succeed, guarantee quality service, promote continuous learning, or leverage your attention to detail.

Make yourself understandable!

Backing your action with your intentions and expressing the implicit will convey the meaning of your action and facilitate your communication. In other words, the strength of your communication lies in your intentions! Give them a supportive anchor and, if necessary, take the time to realign. Otherwise, you risk sending contradictory signals.

“Our intention creates our reality”. Dr Wayne Dyer

If you are there, as you say, "to support," this intention will manifest. Energy follows attention! Your intention is the compass of your communication. It is also its framework. However, if your action is motivated - consciously or unconsciously - in the background by your need for control, the implicit may speak louder than the explicit.

The discomfort of this transparency

The exercise can, therefore, have its share of discomfort: the approach pushes one to know and reveal oneself a bit (what matters to me). But the game is worth the candle: your communication could not only become more efficient and impactful, but it could also make you gain authenticity. Ahh, to read the real intentions of one's interlocutor. What a gift! The entire work climate could benefit from it!

Your intention is the binder of your communication. All three clients saw the benefit of clarifying it with proven concrete results by following this approach for the first ones.

Their stories fondly reminded me of this principle and allowed me to do the same with a new colleague whom my feedback almost affected. It also reminded me of my - not so glamorous - battle with my need for control. Despite all my efforts, this need made me appear more harsh and demanding than benevolent for years.

In a nutshell,

A large part of the message is implicit in communication, and the 36 communication techniques and tools won't help you with delicate situations. In these cases, make the implicit explicit: make your intentions and the why of your action transparent so that your messages are based on the right pillars.

And there, say goodbye to misunderstandings, rediscover fluidity in exchanges, and enjoy the pleasure of having clarified things!

So, what about you? What intentions guide you? What do they say about you? And with whom will you (re)share them?

Looking forward to reading it in your comments,

Have a great week!


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