Communication: More Than Liking to Talk

I’ve met my fair share of people who love to talk. And some of them, because of their propensity to jabber, fancy themselves as great communicators. But communicating effectively is more than just being able to talk a lot.

Yes, speaking may be involved, but communication is more than just spouting out more words. Communication entails that the recipients of the message actually understand what the speaker is trying to convey.

It also goes the other way. The communicator needs to be able to understand the feedback they’re receiving. It could be as direct as questions or comments, or as indirect as shifts in body language. But whatever the response is, a good communicator knows how to properly interpret it and adjust accordingly to make sure the message connects.

We wouldn’t consider a quarterback great based solely on the number of pass attempts he has per game. It’s the completions we care about. And sometimes he has to scramble to get them. Similarly, talking a lot doesn’t equate to being a great—or even good—communicator. It’s all about whether the intended message gets caught.

Change and Competence

“Change creates an environment where you’re not an expert … [so if you believe change is important or inevitable] … getting comfortable with the feeling of being incompetent is one of the most important things you can do.”  –Seth Godin*

Many people don’t like change. But why?

According to Seth Godin, one reason is change means the current experts may no longer be the experts. If you were hired to do a job, and then the job changes, there’s no guarantee you’ll be good at it. Every time there’s change, there will be things you’ll need to figure out: you’ll have to gain competency in some areas.

Now, at times, you may find that you gain competency almost immediately. But there may be other times when this competence takes a long time to develop (if it gets developed at all). And the fear of losing competency can keep some of us from wanting change.

This feeling of incompetency—when things change—is natural and common. The danger is when we let the fear of feeling incompetent make the decision for us, rather than embracing or rejecting change based on whether it’s truly beneficial for those involved.

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* From and interview on the EntreLeadership Podcast (starting around the 9:00 mark)

How—Not How Long—Will You Wait?

There will be times in life where you will need to wait.

And for many of us, those times of waiting can be difficult. We want what we want, and we want it now. But (as we all know) we can’t always have what we want when we want it.

In those times, we may find ourselves asking, How long? How long do I need to wait? And although this response may be common, what if there was a better question to be asking.

Instead of asking, How long do I have to wait?, what if we asked, ‘How’ will I wait, regardless of how long?

Because how you wait matters.

In those times of waiting, will you choose to make the most of the time that is passing? Or will you be so focused on what ‘isn’t’ here yet, that you end up missing out on what’s already right in front of you? Will you be bitter for what hasn’t happened? Or will you be grateful for what has?  Will you dwell on your mistakes? Or will you learn from them? 

If you focus on how long you have to wait, you can grow discouraged if things don’t happen in the timetable you want. But giving attention to ‘how’ you wait can not only shield you from the discouragement of the delay, but can also transform the seemingly barren time of waiting into a season of ongoing growth.

When Meetings Get Rescheduled

When you have a meeting to attend, and then you find out it’s been canceled, how do you normally feel? If you’re like me, you’ve probably had a fair share of times where you’ve breathed a sigh of relief.

But why is that? Why are we relieved when some meetings get rescheduled?

One reason we may be relieved is we currently have too much on our plate. Perhaps we’d like to attend, but there are other deadlines or time demands, and having one less thing to do is a welcome occurrence.

But other times the reason we’re relieved has nothing to do with our schedule. The issue isn’t with juggling the other things we’re already doing, but with the meeting itself. Maybe we know from past experience that we’ll gain little value from it, and we don’t want to waste our time.

Knowing the reason why we feel glad when a meeting is rescheduled is valuable to determine. Is the feeling due solely to this week’s other time demands? Or would we feel the same way regardless of when the meeting is scheduled?

Put another way, If this meeting were to never happen (again), would it be missed?

Because if the issue is inherent to the meeting, and everyone is relieved when it gets moved, something needs to change. To start, is the meeting even necessary? Or if it is, are people being pulled into it that don’t actually need to be there? Is there a known purpose, proper expectations, and clear agenda?

Meetings have their place. But they can also easily turn into something that people begrudge being a part of.  Especially when the perceived (and experienced) value of the meeting is less than other things we could be doing.

So, if you’re putting on a meeting, make sure that there’s a clear purpose, and that it’s a valuable use of time for everyone involved.

And if you’re the one required to attend meetings that are providing little value, maybe it’s time to talk to the organizer to see if there are any adjustments that can be made.

Time is our most precious commodity. So pushing for changes to help us better use the time we have is something that all of us–meeting organizers and attenders alike–should be able to agree on.