But I told you!

“I didn’t hear you. “”I didn’t get the message.” “You never said that.” “How many times do I have to tell you!?!”

It doesn’t matter what the message is, we’ve all been in that situation where a message we tried to give didn’t get through. We believed that we’ve communicated it well enough but no one seems to have heard us. Take this  example, one verbal comment is made to a hundred staff to wear casual dress at work next Monday. On Monday, only about 30% of the staff are in casual dress. Would you say the message got through? I’d say not.

I have adopted several presuppositions to live by and one is:

“Communication is the response you get.”

The power of this belief is that the responsibility of the result of the communication is in the hand of the communicator. With this belief I can’t blame others when they don’t respond the way I expected. Excuses like “you weren’t listening” and “I told you” are no longer acceptable. Instead, as the communicator, their response (or lack of it) becomes my responsibility. Maybe I used the wrong method of communication, I didn’t use the right words, or I picked an inappropriate time. And I can change it.

When I leave responsibility for the response to my communication with my audience, I assume I have no power to influence their response. When I assume the responsibility for communication is my responsibility, I have the power to change the response by changing my communication until I get the desired result.

When I presume that communication is the response I get, I can be proactive. I assess the communications and watch to see what response I get. Then I make appropriate changes and continually learn so that I can become a better communicator.

In the workplace I have chosen to learn how different colleagues like to be communicated with. Adam responds well to emails and will get back to you within a few minutes. Lyn is very busy and is always days behind in emails but will reply to a voicemail within a day. Adele likes sticky notes left on her screen, but if you want to get hold of Rochelle, use MSN. How do I know this, because when I sent a message via one of their non-preferred methods I didn’t get my desired response. When I changed my method, I got the response I want – a quick reply.

Question: Do you agree with this presupposition? What communication tips and tricks have you learnt? Share your wisdom with us through the Comments below.

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6 thoughts on “But I told you!

  1. Pingback: Is His “No” an Acceptable Answer? « Gail's Angle

  2. It’s so key not to assume with communication – if you assume you’ve got all the tricks and tips you’re in trouble. I like how you’ve emphasised that the onus is on me to make communication work. It takes the assuming away as well. Nice.

  3. Very nice article. I like you clearly taking responsibility for getting your communication across. So far I have read every one of your messages. Keep the good work up.

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