The “Science” and “Art” of Communication
Think of a bottle of wine. Sometimes you can have good wine in a bad bottle. You look at the bottle and it is not that impressive but it tastes wonderful. Sometimes you have a bottle that looks terrific but the wine inside is not so good. The goal in effective communication should be to have both substance and style.
Science is built on practices, rules and procedures while art is more of an inherent creative process. The best communicators will learn to combine the two. They will take the best of each and create an effective outcome. Science without art can make communication seem sterile while art without science can make communication very chaotic. Your goal should be to combine creativity with discipline to create the most favorable outcome.
Let’s look at some examples…
The perfect “right down the middle” would be the late Steve Jobs. People would hang on his every word. That was because he would always couple the good science of technology and products and talk about them in an informative, factual way with his own passion and enthusiasm about the design and end user effectiveness.
A good example of the Science right but the art wrong would be the prototypical college professor that goes on and on, for example the character that Ben Stein played in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. A great example of someone who disseminates the information and then strives for involvement, “Anyone, anyone, anyone?” This individual has the information down but has diminished the impact because of poor delivery and lack of creativity.
A good example of getting the Art right but the science wrong, are those who tend to be very passionate. You find yourself connecting with their enthusiasm but in the find yourself asking, “What was that all about?” You knew they felt strongly about something, you are just not sure what about.
So what is “Winning Communication”?
George Bernard Shaw said, “The problem with communication is the illusion it has been accomplished.” The potential for bad communication is of great. Especially in the fast paced word of the Internet, mobile devices and busy lives we lead. I remember some years ago my son, as we walked into a restaurant, read a sign on a chalkboard the read “Fish – All You Can Eat”. He looked at me and said, “Oh No! All you can eat is fish???” This is a perfect example of how, even just subtlety, misinterpreting communication one can come to the wrong conclusion.
Therefore, “Winning Communication” can be defined as being heard and understood. For “Winning Communication” to take place your message needs to not only be heard (or read) but the intended effect of that communication also needs to be achieved.
Keep in mind communication is in fact “response you get”. How effective you are communicating is more about what is “heard” than what is “said”. Often times we find ourselves saying, “But this is what I said” but if the person who responded didn’t “get it” then the responsibility of poor communication falls onto the person who said it.
Stay tuned for Part Two when I will share some of the wrong ways to avoid when communicating and the “C”s of communication.
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