“C’mon Keith, there´s a certain level of responsibility that each party has during any conversation, right? I mean, it’s not always my fault, is it?”
This is one question that surfaces at one point or another during the course of coaching someone. And typically, the question surfaces after the person just experienced a major headache, upset or problem that was caused by a communication breakdown; a failure to confirm the message sent and received by both parties was not only received but understood the way you intended it.
A great salesperson (or any person for that matter) is fully accountable not only for the message they deliver but for the message that is being heard.
More than 90% of all problems or breakdowns that exist within businesses occur as a result of faulty communication. The very thing that occupies approximately 70% of our waking hours is the very thing we have difficulty with the most. Enhancing your communication requires taking full responsibility for the outcome of each conversation; not only for what you are saying but for the message the other person is hearing.
Producing greater, long-term results without conflicts or breakdowns requires taking full responsibility for the outcome of each conversation. No, it’s not even about you taking on 70%, 80% or even 90% of the responsibility and the other person taking on the balance. It’s 100% or nothing. Why? Well, how else can you put all of the power back in your court to ensure that every conversation you have is filled with meaning, clarity and a focused intention? Why give up even 10% of that power when you can be accountable for all of it; thus, increasing your odds dramatically that the quality of your communication remains consistent, highly effective and produces the results you want without the breakdowns.
To strengthen your communication, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Am I taking full responsibility for the message being heard by the other person? (Remember that it doesn´t matter what you say, it only matters what the other person hears.)
2. Did I respect the other person´s point of view or did I have a reaction (disagreement) to what they were saying that prevented me from listening to their full message?
3. If I was asking someone to take a specific action (delegating), did I make my request clear and check to see if the conversation worked/was successful? (Did I receive feedback to ensure that I was understood?)
4. Did I receive value from the conversation? (Did I allow the other person to contribute to me?)
5. If the outcome of the conversation did not meet my expectations, what did I learn that would enable me to better communicate with that person? (Did I open up a new and greater possibility that I didn´t notice before?)
6. Did I give the person the gift of my listening?
7. When delegating a task or having a conversation, was I cognizant of the common sense trap?
It is not the other person´s responsibility to understand what it is you are saying. It is your job to be understood.