Sometimes there is more friction in Community Organisations with communication than anywhere else? Maybe you haven’t noticed it or it’s not even there for your organisation. Many organisations are not very skilled at dealing with conflict. It doesn’t seem to matter if they are a business or a community organisation. It is often buried, simmering below the surface, until it blows up one day.
Communication is an art. Some of the things to consider are:-
- Complexity of language (don’t use words people can’t understand)
- Tone of voice
- Speed of delivery
- Body language
- Structure of the story or presentation
- Reaction of the listener/s
- Cultural values
Unfortunately we tend to expect that people hear what we are saying. We also thing they will interpret what we are saying exactly as we said it. This is rarely the case. Words seem to go through a cloud before they reach the ears of the listener. Often they get distorted or misunderstood by the time they get there. The best way of understanding this is to consider an old saying. “The meanings of words are not in the words, they are in the people”. In other words, what you mean by a particular word is not the same meaning as someone else might apply to that word. The natural extension of this is when you put words together in a sentence. That’s when things start getting somewhat complex.
Community organisations can often have members from all walks of life. This can create higher levels of difficulty with communication. In a business, people tend to understand the workplace and company jargon. In social settings with friends, you generally mix with people with similar experiences. Organisations can be different and it’s worth being super alert to communication problems.
Below is a great video from TedEd about communication. It’s very well done and explains a lot of the principles outlined above. If you have any comments or questions, then please leave them below. Feedback is always very welcome and valued.