Effective communication must involve two components – delivery and receipt. It isn’t good enough to deliver a message; unless the message is received as intended, the communication has failed. Which is why there must be back and forth in communication. It must be a two-way process, it cannot be a one-way street.
Effective communication is like playing tennis …
Think of effective communication as if you are playing tennis – the ball must go evenly across the court, back and forth, back and forth – one person speaking, the other person listening, alternately switching from one person to the other – back and forth, back and forth.
Not like playing golf!
Yet many of us communicate like we play golf – we hit the ball and we go after it, we hit the ball again and go after it, and we hit the ball yet again and go after it. In fact, while the other person is teeing off or playing their ball, many of us impatiently tap our feet and wait at the tee box or off on the side – we just can’t wait till it’s our turn! Instead of listening to what the other person is saying, we’re thinking about what we’re going to say next! And that’s not effective communication!
Bottom line: if you want to be an effective communicator, focus on playing more tennis, and not golf!
Are you playing tennis or golf when it comes to communicating with your staff and colleagues? What gets in the way of playing tennis rather than golf? I’d love to know what you think of this metaphor. Please share your thoughts by adding your comment below.