Leadership is about communication. No matter what type of communication – home, work, fun, music, friendships, communication is something we all have to do.
So how to communicate with others in today’s culture? Note: Most of these comments may be applicable primarily to the U.S. and other developed countries. Other places may be limited in their forms of communication, although the rest of the world is quickly catching up.
Before email, text messaging and cell phones our options were letters, phone calls (land lines or pay phones, remember those?), beepers, and visiting one another’s homes (wow, where did that go?). And that’s only going back 10 years or so.
Today, most of my leaders resort primarily to email. The problem with that is that when Andrea emails Dean, but Dean is not an email guy, he’s a cell phone kind of guy, they miss each other. Sometimes Jack calls my work line, (i’m a cell phone and email guy) and it takes me days to get to my work phone and we miss each other. In the mean time Daniel texts me at 10pm about an important meeting tomorrow at the Coffee Bean at 9:30am and I email him back because I don’t want to spend the extra cost on texting. But he didn’t check his email in time so he wonders if I’m showing up or not.
Sometimes people use email with those they are not close to or comfortable with. Others may use text with their close friends but not with mom and dad. Sometimes the way you communicate with someone depends on the purpose of the interaction and the relationship you have with that person.
With your boss, you may write a letter or formal email, with your best friend you might text or call them on their cell phone. If you want the news to be processed first and you are afraid of a quick response, you might email. If you are not a confrontational person or the other person scares you, you might email them instead of calling.
The important thing in all this is to know your people’s ‘communication language’. As in ‘love languages’ people receive and express commmunication in a particular way.
My communication language is the cell phone, just call me. I love talking to people on the cell phone (hands free please!). Face to face is #2. I’m a relational kind of guy.
So the Main 6 Communication Languages are:
2. Cell phone
3. Home or work phone
4. Text message
5. Face to face
6. Blogs and web based forms (myspace.com, etc.)
Some people (especially Boomers), still use letters, office memos, copying files to a CD, etc. The other day, a Boomer friend of mine gave me a CD with one word doc in it. I thought, wow, that’s ancient. And again, based upon the nature of your conversation and relationship, you may have to write a letter.
My advice is, know your own particular communication language and most of all know your people’s, friends, etc. communication language. Communicate with them in a way they understand. Otherwise, you may never hear back from them.
Have a great day.
Into the future,