I had read an article a while back written by a dentist about the patient-doctor communication gap. Kristin Nickells states, “A lack of communication gets in the way of a positive patient experience.” Light bulbs went off in my head as I realized that this was true not just for doctors or dentists, but for the entire business world if client or prospect were substituted for the patient. In other words, a lack of communication gets in the way of a positive client experience. Complaints of “lack of communication” often occur when the client doesn’t understand what one is talking about and/or when too much jargon and high-level vocabulary is present the message is often unclear leaving a “Lack of Communication”. Clearly, professionals have a miscommunication problem. Technical presenters much avoid communication crises to ensure their audience understands them and to gain a strong ROI.
The article by Kristin Kickells goes on to say that, “Poor communication results in misunderstandings about treatment and costs and simultaneously creates a need for clarification and reassurance.” This is true for medical treatment, but think about it–if your clients don’t fully understand what’s going to happen or what is currently happening, then your company and therefore you will always be backpedaling. Therefore poor communication and misunderstandings about the project creates a need for clarification and reassurance.
I’ve come up with four solutions to avoid the communication crisis and avoid such misunderstandings from occurring:
4 Ways to Avoid Communication Crises
- Break down the information into pieces and do not give too much content at one time. The root of having a message thoroughly received is giving only as much content as is necessary and absolutely no more. Regardless of how tempting it is to over explain, it never goes over well because the human brain can only accept 3 new pieces of information at a given time.
- Use understandable language. Explain each piece of information thoroughly and in plain “English”. It is likely that whom you are talking to is outside of your industry and therefore doesn’t understand the numerous acronyms and jargon used throughout a typical presentation. Take the time to simplify, believe me it goes further than you think!
- Use structure and logical organization to explain. Some type of logical organization needs to be used, otherwise topics jumps around making your audience concentrate on following you instead of on your message. Implementing structure improves focus and therefore increase retention of the information. It also ensures that presenters actually get to the end and don’t meander off on a tangent in the middle of the presentation somewhere.
- Leave room for questions. It is often thought that the presenter has to cram everything in because questions mean that something wasn’t covered. On the contrary, questions are a brilliant way to not have to cover anything and allow the opportunity for audience involvement. If there is any piece of pertinent information not covered, the question will cover it, I promise!
Following these simple 4 solutions, you should see your hit rates increase and even have lower operational costs because your clients understand you in day-to-day interactions.