Communication Breakdown. Guest Post by Will Moulthrop

Introduction from Alana

One of my favorite professional roles of all time was when I was “Director of Entertainment Products” (yes, real title) for Sprint.  Essentially, if it had to do with music, television, movies, games or advertising, it was in my wheelhouse.  One of the coolest aspects of the job was working with all the big name (and some small names that packed a big punch!) content companies which gave me the opportunity to sample a lot of new music.  Every time I’d hear a song, I’d try to break it down to glean the artist’s meaning and intent in creating the song.  For me, it amplified the value of the piece and added to the joy I took from listening to it.

With that as the backdrop, allow me to introduce my friend, Will Moulthrop.  Will is a business development and product marketing expert in the IT space.  Plus, he’s a heck of a nice guy who also loves music.  Today, he’s sharing some insight on communication that he took from, what else?  A great song.  Sing it, Will!

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Guest post by Will Moulthrop

will-moulthropYes, I am an audiophile.  And yes, “Communication Breakdown” is a reference to early an early Led Zeppelin song.  But specifically, it’s about what I see, hear, and feel each and every day.  Communication Breakdown, it’s always the same. I’m having a nervous breakdown . . . drive me insane!

I think that in order for communication to work both effectively and efficiently, both parties need to be aware of each other’s styles.  If you break it down to its simplest, messaging has only a sender and a receiver.  No more, no less.  Multiple parties may be involved but with each back and forth that is all there is.  Sender – Receiver.  It is crucial for both parties to be on the same channel to send and receive or what could happen?  Communication breakdown, it’s always the same. I’m having a nervous breakdown . . . drive me insane!

How do you make sure both parties are on the same channel?  Communication begins with speaking and listening, but expands to all five senses actually.  How can we get to the point where each partner gets the most out of the exchange?  By habit, my reaction is to listen, and offer as much of the forum to the other person.  I do this as a courtesy but also as an advantage.  It gives me an opportunity to gather as much information as I can as well as gauge the other person’s style.  If I am able to put my message in terms that are meaningful to them, it increases the chances of the communication being mutually beneficial.

I am in a people business.  From the minute I start my day until the time I turn it off at night I am communicating with people:  coworkers, clients, consultants, jobseekers.  Each one is my partner in communication and my job cannot get done if the signal does not get through.  So the sooner I can learn if my partner prefers their message in email, text, or cell phone the better start I have.  Next, do I know if they like to talk in longer, drawn out conversation, or are they a quick-and-to-the-point type?  Is this a social message or a professional message?  Would my sarcastic style be appreciated or is there a chance it could offend?  There are a lot of variables to think about, aren’t there?  The more you know the better the odds of avoiding … communication breakdown.

As a personal development exercise, monitor communication throughout your day – the interactions you are part of as well as of those going on around you.  Did you see a TV commercial that left you thinking “huh, I don’t get it?”  Communication Breakdown.  Did you just get a reminder about something going on after work that you totally forgot about?  Communication Breakdown.  Did you and a coworker go around and around on an issue and nothing got solved?  Communication Breakdown.  Dog isn’t listening? You never got my email? A cute girl didn’t laugh at your joke? Communication breakdown.  Look at what happened that caused one or both parties to lose frequency.  Once you become intentionally aware of the communication styles of those around you as well as your own approach, you will become more conscientious and you’ll suddenly find yourself on the right channel to be able to engage in more effective communication.  @wcm026

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