The June 2006 issue of Harvard
Management Update had an interesting article called Trust Makes the Team Go ‘Round, by Judith A. Ross. For some reason,
I fixated on this:
“Neale [Margaret Neale,
a Stanford Graduate School of Business professor] notes that the e-mail
behavior of Americans, who tend to go immediately into the task, often is
experienced by people from other cultures as rudeness…””
In many US companies, we’re taught to get right to the point.
We’re spread too thin and
pushed too far and sometimes the first thing to go is time spent building
As a result, we miss a
critical point. Communication is not
about us, it’s about the audience!
A direct communication
style might be appropriate (even recommended) with one audience and completely
inappropriate with another.
How often are we thinking
about the audience and not simply about how we want to relay our message?
Do we take time to understand
the communication preferences of others?
How often do we focus on
them, take note of their reactions, and adjust our style to meet their needs?
How much time do we listen
before we start talking?
I’d bet it’s not enough.