Effective communication is perhaps the single most troubling element in any team. Enormous mistakes can be made simply by one person not explaining something well – or the person they are talking to misunderstanding a direction or request. Compound this with the fact that it's rare communication in today's environment is one to one (more often it's one to many, or many to many), and you can see how poor communication can freeze the success of an effort. Lynda Bourne recognizes this challenge, and provides a few pointers on how we can communicate more effectively with team members. Using the example of what makes good music (balance, rhythm, memorable phrasing or efforts), Bourne explains how someone who wants to communicate effectively should take the cue:
Great communicators use a similar approach to great music. It does not matter if you listen to Beethoven's “Symphony No. 5” or Queen's “Bohemian Rhapsody.” You find consistency and variety in both. Patches of high intensity contrasted with quieter movements create a memorable and complete masterpiece.
The same effect can be achieved in your communication by balancing positive and negative elements of a message or changing the direction of the information flow. Bourne also suggests ending on a high note: don't leave your listeners feeling like there isn't a way to resolve the problem or even that the best days are behind them (in the case of a “good job” sort of meeting). Communicate clearly – make sure that your listener understand your intent -and then follow up with them before assuming that they've understood exactly what you'd like them to do (or not do, as the case may be).