I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard a leader say to me some variation of, “Well, I sent an email . . .”
The presumption made here on the part of such leaders is that they did their job in communicating to their audience and it is the fault of the recipients for not understanding.
Great leaders do not make this rookie mistake. The very best leaders are masters of human communication. They know that the responsibility for connecting with people lays with the sender of the message, not with the receiver.
If you want to become a world-class communicator, memorize this mantra: “The meaning of my communication is the message you receive.”
In other words, there are so many reasons why recipients of your messages can misinterpret your meaning. Your recipients might have thought they read something in your tone of voice or body language. They may have filtered your communique through the prism of their past experiences. They may have had a migraine that day and so missed part of your message or misunderstood it. Whatever the case, their interpretation is valid to them. It is up to you to ensure that you are being interpreted as you intend.
Sending one email, or holding a unilateral conversation and expecting that your job in communicating is over is just plain silly. Communicators who wish to be leaders always take the extra step to verify that the recipients of their messages understood as intended.
Great communication that truly connects is the beating heart of real leadership.