Clarity of Communication

I was watching the news last night, which was reporting on the Leveson enquiry in the UK, investigating the role of the Press and Police in many high profile phone hacking scandals. A particular piece of footage caught my attention, surrounding the evidence given by Rebekah Brooks, former CEO of News International, referring to how the Prime Minister, David Cameron, signed of text messaged “lol” thinking it meant lots of love when in fact in common usage it is an acronym for laugh out loud. This reminded me of a blog I wrote a while ago about communication and the differences between what is meant and what is understood. In that I wrote’

At it’s most general level, communication is the passage of information between two people. The person wanting to pass on the message, the Transmitter, and the person they wish to convey that message to, the Receiver.

The ‘Transmitter’ sends their message using some form of media or channel, whether that be face-to-face by voice, voice over some media (radio, telephone, VoIP etc), written etc. The Receiver receives the message and then interprets it based on their own perceptual filters and the supporting evidence that they collect to add meaning to the message received. They will then form their own meaning of the ‘message’ received and then may form their own message in response and transmit that back. Within this process of receiving, interpreting and adding meaning is the potential for the gap between intended and interpreted meaning to develop.

As highlighted there are many things that may lead to a message being received as it was meant… The tone, the grammar, punctuation, the beliefs and perceptual filters… The list goes on, however, in this case the lack of understanding or ‘education’ is prevelant.

How often have you gone into a new organisation, a new environment and been left bewildered by buzzwords and three letter acronyms? If you are a business owner or Manager in an organisation, what do you do to make sure your staff, your customers, your suppliers understand what you are trying to say? If they have do not understand the acronyms or buzzwords, what chance of they of understanding what you are talking to them about?

Remember, not every one will understand the TLAs, the buzzwords. Remember KISS, keep it stupid simple… As Einstein said, make everything as simple as possible but no simpler.

The meaning of your communication is the response you get…

  • Brucehanley

    I liked Ian Hislop’s comment on this topic on “Have I got News for You”, ¬†Brook’s seemed to think it was perfectly acceptable for a Prime Minister to mistakenly think he was saying “lots of love” to the CEO of an organization involved in a major takeover bid