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"Communication" Doesn't Communicate

Posted Nov 01 2009 10:00pm

How many workplace issues are introduced to you as, "We've got a communication problem?"

Communication is a catch-all phrase. It's  generic, socially acceptable, and really just sends the signal that someone wants to start a conversation. But it probably won't end up being about communication.

Psychologists and counselors refer to these kinds of introductory pronouncements as "presenting" problems." They're  a call for help when someone doesn't know what to do or may not even be aware of the real issue.

Unless you know the genuine issue, you can spend a lot of time creating an elegant solution for the wrong problem.

Cat_2 In organizations, communication is the #1  presenting problem.

The next time someone lays a communication issue on you, follow through with:

"That sounds interesting. Help me out. Describe specifically what you see happening and why it's a problem."

You may discover that the Marketing group refused to follow guidelines from Research and ended up slightly misrepresenting a product.

You don't yet know the cause. But you do know the real situation and where to focus your energy.

How many presenting problems can you uncover today?

If you've got a favorite "presenting problem" story, toss it into the mix with a comment below. You may help someone else see how to probe and work on the right thing at the right time.

And if you enjoyed this post, you might also learn from: Use The Right Words At Work

How about When You Know The Words But Don't Understand the Meaning? Jackie Cameron highlights a new communication challenge prompted by social media.

For those of us who do a lot of coaching and development of presentations, here's a treat from Steve Kayser on how he satisfied the corporate need to have 110 Slides in 5 Minutes. Really.

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