We live in a digital, shorthand world, where COO (cool), IDK (I don’t know) and WBU (what about you) have become familiar phrases to the texting majority of our society. Generation X’ers comment in dismay when our children and grandchildren communicate with each other via texting, while sitting across the table from each other. What’s more troubling is that it’s affecting the way our culture functions and how business gets done — or doesn’t.
As meeting and event planners, we are champions of the power of live, face-to-face communication. We may, in fact, be one of the last frontiers for this form of dialogue and, as such, it is critically important that we understand and practice effective verbal communication every day. A decade or so ago, when webcasting was first taking off, meeting planners everywhere feared that live events (and their livelihoods) would soon be extinct. Today it’s clear that no webcast, or social media, can create shared experiences to rival live ones.
The absence of this level of connection is telling. There is a lack of unity, shared goals and empathy for others, as well as greater sense of isolation, resentment, misunderstanding and mistrust. It’s most confusing in those “gray area” conversations that occur daily in our personal and work lives. These guidelines should help us all practice effective verbal communication every single day.
Use verbal communication as your primary form of communication when:
It’s even more critical that this sort of verbal communication come in some form of dialogue. This means listening as well as speaking. In fact, one of the well-known red flags in the process not hire a potential supplier or sales person is if they talk more than they listen or ask questions. Along these same lines lies the pitfall of many executive presentations. Executives historically have decided what they wish to tell their audiences, without empathetic consideration for what their audience wants and needs to hear – what’s in it for them.
Bottom line, verbal communication is effective in almost all circumstances, but only necessary in a few. The choice is up to us, but a smooth, productive relationship with our peers, employees, clients and suppliers depends on knowing the difference.
Next: MBEC 33.02 — Communicate in writing
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