Research shows miscommunication costs small businesses $420,000 annually and more for larger businesses. Whether you know it or not, miscommunication is hurting your bottom-line. Fortunately, improving business communication doesn’t have to be complicated.
Simple is best and I believe one of the better communication tools available to business is the DISC assessment.
Start With A Simple Communication Strategy
If you’ve read my blog or talked to me in person, you’ll know that DISC is the key tool in my consulting practice. It’s the tool I use because I’m simple and the tools I use need to be simple. I like things that are easy to explain and easy to use.
The DISC approach to communication makes it easy for people to communicate with those they don’t know well or have never met before. I go into detail on the four styles of DISC in a couple posts. You can read them here and here.
For this article, I want to give you a few tips you can immediately start using today.
Learn The Communication Priorities Of Others
When we learn the business communication priorities of others, we can easily connect with others. In business communication, people have two basic priorities and fortunately, you can identify someone’s priorities quickly. These priorities are the key to winning people over, closing deals, and improving the bottom-line.
A few weeks back I was working with a client and she illustrated one of these priorities perfectly. We were reviewing her assessment results. Throughout the conversation, she was very attentive and asked questions that were straight to the point. She hardly revealed any personal information beyond what was necessary. Basically, she stuck to the task at hand.
The report review for her was a task. She was not there for building a relationship with me. She had a calendar event and she attended. When she left, I’m sure she went straight back to the remaining tasks for the day.
It’s not that she doesn’t do people, it’s that her priority is the task, not people or relationship. What’s great is that’s okay!
On the other hand, I was working with a different client and we chatted a lot, talked about personal things, and got to know one another. In this case, this client’s priority is people. Because of the relationship we built in that interaction, he is now a coaching client.
Adapt Your Communication To Fit Their Orientation
I enjoyed working with both clients. After quickly discovering what their priority was I adjusted to be more task-oriented or people-oriented. By making this adaptation, I was able to connect with them in the way they preferred.
If you think about the tension you have experienced in the workplace, has it been around a difference in priority? Your priority was getting the work done while there’s was more about the interaction. Or maybe it was reversed. Either way, the difference creates tension.
Today when you interact with that coworker or another one with a priority that is opposite yours, you can now adapt your approach. It’s that simple.
Determine If You Need To Speed Up Or Slow Down
In addition to the priority of people vs. task, we have the priority of pace. People are split into two approaches when it comes to the pace of communication. Some desire to interact and work at a fast pace, while others prefer to interact and work at a slower pace.
This fast vs. slow pace can create tension and miscommunication in the workplace (at home too). Fortunately, you can easily identify the difference and then do something about it.
When you know this, adapting your communication approach is simple. The faster-talking person will prefer interacting quickly and getting through tasks quickly. The slower talking person or the coworker that is more methodical in their work will prefer a slower pace when talking and working.
Use These Two Questions To Identify Anyone’s Communication Style
When you are interacting with your coworkers this week take the time to observe how they approach their interactions and work. You are only looking for 4 things. You can discover these things by answering just two questions.
- When you are interacting with this coworker, are they more task-oriented or more people-oriented compared to you?
- When you are interacting with this coworker, are they faster paced or slower paced than you?
Once you have the answers to both of these questions, you then can adjust your behavior toward their priorities. The effect of these adjustments can be profound on business communication and workplace relationships.
How have workplace miscommunications impacted you? How have you successfully navigated some communication tension?
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