What Is It About Communicating That’s Missing?

It’s A Lost Practice That Is Getting More Lost All the Time

Communication is the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing or the use of another medium. It’s common for one person to presume when communicating with someone that that person understands what they mean. When, in reality, those receiving it don’t. When we receive a message, it generates a range of things including pictures, perceptions, emotions, etc. Often these aren’t the same for both people.

I think social media messages are lowering the communication bar. The lack of punctuation and proper English in emails, texts, social media posts seem to be increasing. It can be fun to use abbreviations, symbols, slang and acronyms in these conversations. We just need to be careful that we don’t loose the ability to communicate effectively.

A poorly communicated message makes an already overwhelmed customer feel even more overwhelmed.

Communication between the contractor and customer is critical to a positive outcome for both parties. The importance of good communication is key to helping customers accomplish their dreams. It takes time and effort to prepare comprehensive proposals but it’s worth it.

An example of how words mean different things to different people is in last week’s post when I wrote about a “manufactured” home. I received a communication that it was a “modular” home, not manufactured. This is how communication should work. Thank you, Ivy.

Technically it’s both “modular” and “manufactured”.

Modular – Relating to a module. A construction system using units or sections for easy construction. A system that subdivides construction into smaller parts or modules that can be built in one location and moved. Constructed using standardized units or dimensions for flexibility and variety.

ManufacturedMaking something from raw materials by hand or using machinery. The process of making something systematically. Producing a product in a large scale. Built in one location and able to be shipped to the end destination.

Both definitions describe this home and depending on who you talk to the definition is likely to be different.

Historically manufactured housing is connected to the trailer house industry. These homes aren’t attached to a permanent foundation (another one of those words that can be misleading, nothing is permanent when relating to construction). They typically have a steel frame that remains as part of the home’s construction.

Modular homes on the other hand are generally fastened to a concrete foundation and have no steel frame remaining. They are usually constructed using standard construction materials.

When communicating we need to be intentional in our choice of words. We need to be clear about our message. It’s a good idea to repeat that message multiple times in a variety of ways.

The most important part of communication is to ask questions!

When it comes to communicating, listening is twice as important as talking. Why do you think God gave us two ears and one mouth?

As the business owner or professional is it even more important that we communicate clearly. We have (or at least should have) more knowledge, experience and understanding than our client.

Communication is the number one problem between businesses and customers.

Generally, the customer is a novice and have come to us professionals for guidance and direction. This doesn’t mean that we should tell them what they want. Rather, we need to ask questions and listen to the answers. Find out what their dream is and help them accomplish that. We need to guide them through the process from the beginning to the end.

Communicating is a problem on both sides. The customer generally knows what they want but doesn’t know how to explain it or is afraid to ask questions for fear of appearing dumb. The contractor thinks they know what the customer wants but doesn’t bother to clarify and just charges ahead leaving the customer feeling disappointed, disregarded and regretting having done the project at all.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We are working on some ideas to help narrow the chasm between customers and businesses. Let us know in the comments below if you or someone you know has some specific issues regarding communication that needs solved.