Communication never happens by accident, yet so many accidents happen as a result of poor communication.
Communication is not a singular act and it’s not something you can merely “pick-up” by watching an eloquent speaker. Communication is a skill. Communication is a strategic enterprise. Communication is a process.
Like any process, communication has many different components: components that span far beyond the simple verbal and non-verbal elements we hear so much about in pop-psychology tomes, textbooks, or leadership clinics.
These components are not often recognized or thought of by the average individual because they aren’t taught despite the critical role they play in your ability to become a better communicator. So join me today as I dive into the things we don’t hear as much about so we can gain a real edge on the past versions of ourselves and any external competition.
The communication components we will cover today:
Just as a great detective looks for what is missing when it comes to solving a mystery, a great communicator looks to ensure they consider all of the components above when it comes to connecting with others.
By the end of today’s episode, you will be able to identify where a miscommunication originated and have a better chance of preventing it from happening again!
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Brett Bartholomew 00:00
There is one thing that is guaranteed to make any situation in life, whether it’s personally or professionally worse, and that’s poor communication. What if you wanted to learn the piano? What if you wanted to learn the cello? What if you wanted to learn any skill? Could you just watch somebody? And just by watching them absorb that? Of course not. It’s not the matrix, right? I can’t learn to play the cello. I can’t become Lindsey Stirling by watching her play the violin. So why is it that we think that we can become better communicators, just by going through our day to day life, or just by observing other strong communicators?
Brett Bartholomew 00:50
Welcome to the Art Of Coaching podcast, a show aimed at getting to the core of what it takes to change attitudes, behaviors and outcomes in the weight room, boardroom classroom, and everywhere in between. I’m your host, Brett Bartholomew, I’m a performance coach, keynote speaker, and the author of the book Conscious Coaching. But most importantly, I’m a lifelong student interested in all aspects of human behavior, and communication. I want to thank you for joining me. And now let’s dive into today’s episode.
Brett Bartholomew 01:23
When it comes to all things buy in, it starts with communication without communication, trust cannot be built. And that is really what we’re going to focus on today, eight critical or often overlooked components of communication that can erode or even stop buy in from being built in its tracks. I appreciate you guys coming back. We’re gonna have a quick episode today. Hey, and I also want to let you know, you know, one thing that we try to do with this podcast as we try to really not go heavy on the sponsors, you guys know those podcasts you listen to where it’s like, you have to fast forward six minutes. And they’re still doing the whole sponsor thing.
Now, it doesn’t mean we will never have sponsors, of course not. But one of the ways we can do that is through your support. One of the ways we can keep it clean, tight, and enjoyable to listen to is through your support. So if you want to support the show, you want to keep us from having to go out and get tons and tons and tons of sponsors or you just want to show appreciation and you’re one of those people that likes to help we are grateful for any of that. And we’ve created a new page where you can do that you just go to artofcoaching.com/patron, that is P A T R O N, artofcoaching.com/patron. And if you feel so compelled, you can donate to the show, and it helps us keep great guests on it helps us make sure that we can pay for the right kind of audio equipment and all the other little things that we do, the podcast reflection sheets, which are free, you know, all these things take a lot of time No, don’t feel compelled, right? Like this is just me hand in hand saying some of you have reached out and said you want to show support.
Anything is appreciated whether you guys show reviews, and good reviews on iTunes, or what have you whether you tell a friend or if you want to be a patron. So we’ve offered those opportunities for you. We’re grateful for anything. And please don’t feel compelled to do these things. We just want to put them out there because we’ve had some questions.
Brett Bartholomew 03:10
All right, on to today’s episode, and it’s nice to be able to talk to you guys just one on one like this. I feel like it’s been, it hasn’t been that long since we’ve done a solo episode. But I do a lot of guest interviews in between because you know, we try to make sure if I get sick or something goes wrong, that we have some great episodes stockpile. But I always appreciate the opportunity to speak with you one on one. So here we go. You know, there is one thing that is guaranteed to make any situation in life worse. And that’s poor communication.
And I’ll say that again, and I’ll say it with a plumb there is one thing that is guaranteed to make any situation in life, whether it’s personally or professionally worse. And that’s poor communication. I had written before throughout human history, miscommunication of various types and origins have eroded empires, marred marriages, broken businesses, and crushed careers. And what’s worse is few if any forecast these effects of unskilled communication, a lot of people believe that communication is just a skill that they become better at simply by gaining life experience.
Brett Bartholomew 04:16
Guys, I’m married, and I don’t become a better husband just by waking up every day and still being married. You know, we put out a poll recently on Twitter that asked people how do you become? How do you work at becoming a more skilled communicator, and the vast majority I think we had 122 votes on this. And it mirrored what the research says when it pertains to coach and leadership development. The vast majority of people work at becoming a better communicator via “life or work experience”, right? That’s how they think they get better. And then the second most popular answer was by observing great leaders or effective communicators.
Now think about that for a minute. What if you wanted to learn the piano? What if you wanted to learn the cello? What if you wanted to learn any skill? Could you just watch somebody? And just by watching them absorb that? Of course not. It’s not the matrix, right? I can’t learn to play the cello. I can’t become Lindsey Stirling by watching her play the violin. So why is it that we think that we can become better communicators, just by going through our day-to-day life, or just by observing other strong communicators, we need a reflective a way to evaluate these things, right? Like this doesn’t come just that easily.
Brett Bartholomew 05:33
So what we always try to do is think about what’s something that allows you to work with your staff in a thematic and categorically organized way to improve your chances of getting on the same page. And we’ve done that through some of our courses and my book, Conscious Coaching, but we’re going to continue to evolve. But what is something that we can do that helps us understand that when it comes to communication, none of us, including myself, are as good as we think we are. Because that’s really the thing that people need to understand and embrace. And we had a great conversation with somebody the other day, he works at Facebook, he’s a higher up there. And I asked them, how they evaluate these things, and how they look at these things.
And, you know, he brought up an interesting point, he says, nobody really wants to talk about communication at first, they want to talk technical skills. And early in your career, technical skills are a really effective way. And this, this led into another conversation that I then had with one of my neighbors, and he was saying your technical skills are a really effective way to kind of show separate yourself early on in your career, right? Not that anybody should just do that to try to make themselves look better than somebody else. But we all agree that if you want to stand out early in your career, right, abide by the craft get really great at the technical aspects of that, it’s a great way to separate it, it’s a great way to dive headfirst. But here’s the question, I want to ask all of you, and please turn me up.
Brett Bartholomew 06:53
What happens when you’re in a room where everybody is really good at their job? What happens when you’re around people in an organization, where everyone is very, very, very skilled, technically? What happens when you can no longer look at these little nuances of your craft? And thank you? Yep, that’s the one thing that’s going to make me stand out. More importantly, what happens when you look around, you see somebody that’s even better than you are at that. And you’re pushing yourself to the top of your game? Where else do you go to separate yourself?
Because guys, that’s what they look for in higher tier leadership. When you get to the point, when you’re in that room, whether it’s the C suite, whether it’s any, whatever the highest tier is, and they think everybody here has a lot of experience. Everybody here is then as proven themselves, technically, to be superior in some way amongst their peers. But now, what’s the separator? Guys, that’s communication, the ability to build relationships, the ability to motivate and influence people in a way that’s not cheesy, right?
I always talk about Art Of Coaching, being the non-leadership, leadership company, we’re not the rah-rah types, like we need to teach you political skill, we need to teach you influence persuasion, power dynamics, because these are things in which the world operates. And they’re the things that help separate you once you get to that point. Because I don’t think many of you and with all due respect, right, I’m just saying this because I didn’t either. I don’t think many of us think about that. I don’t think we ever think about well, what happens when we’re in that room where everybody’s skilled, then where do we go? That’s where interpersonal skills and all of these things really shine.
Brett Bartholomew 08:32
But that Dunning Kruger effect of us thinking we’re better than we are at them, is what keeps us you know, really from understanding that oh, man, why did I get passed over? I’ve, I’ve 20 years experience, I have all these certifications. But I did this I built the best model I or these guys got the strongest or Yeah, our team performed well, sorry. Sometimes it comes down to relationships. And that will never change. As long as human beings are on this planet. We are relational creatures. And there’s a reason why public speaking remains one of the greatest phobias experienced by many.
The bottom line guys is communication doesn’t happen by accident. And you certainly don’t get better at it simply by observation. That’s not how that works. And you don’t get better at it just by living your life. There has to be reflective practice there has to be bigger or more in depth and understanding communications and not a singular act. You can’t just read the leadership Book of the Week. You can’t, you know, any of these things communication is a skill, communication as a strategic enterprise, communication is a process.
And I owe Owen Hargie for the strategic enterprise piece, he executes that very well. People do not communicate by accident right now. We put my son down for a nap. He is wailing, right we’re doing sleep training, he under like he may not understand what he’s doing but at a subconscious level. That communication that crying and what have you and the pitch and the tone and all these things. He is trying to get our attention because he does not want to be in that room alone. And it works, doesn’t it?
Brett Bartholomew 10:05
Any of you that are parents, man, sleep training is not fun. All right. So like any process, communication has many components. And this all ties into buy in this all ties into trash relationship building, because these are components that span far beyond, you know, the things that you always hear the verbal and the nonverbal that we hear so much about everybody. It’s kind of like Thanksgiving here in America, I want to respect my international audience. And I know it. Yes, I know, there’s Thanksgiving in permutations of that other places. But we will sit here and say, Oh, it’s the turkey that makes, it’s the tryptophan in the turkey that makes you tired? Well, right along with that is the person that can tell you 93% of all communication is nonverbal, right, and I’m making up the 93%. There’s about 30 different statistics out there. And they’re all wrong to a degree because they don’t dive deeply into what the nonverbal actually means.
And if you want to dive into that, let me know it’s too hairy for this episode. And I don’t want to bore you guys. But if you want to know more about the nuances of nonverbal and what it really how they really break down, because there’s categories within categories of that, let us know in our podcast community, or let us know on our newsletter, we want to hear that direct feedback from you before we just assume, but ignoring these components, and there’s going to be eight that we’re going to discuss here becomes catastrophic to your ability as a coach, a leader a significant other, or what have you, to resolve conflict or lead others if they’re not paid their proper due. Right. So let’s get right into it, there’s a lot more exposition I can get into.
Brett Bartholomew 11:39
But let’s talk about the eight components of the communication process, the eight things that can keep you from building buy-in relationships, all these pieces, right. And if you want more, again, there’s plenty of these things in my book and my courses. This is a new thing I haven’t talked about before, so I wanted to bring it to you guys first. So the first thing you’re going to notice about the things that I give you is these aren’t tips. These are categories, I want you guys to be able to create a checklist, or some kind of like forum where you can reflect on these things.
We use these in our company, and we say, hey, if there was a miscommunication, and there was recently, what component of communication did we mess up on? Where could we have gone back? Where could we have been clearer? We actually have an internal communication pyramid that says, hey, for this type of discussion, we need to have it, you know, it’s either Okay, yeah, we can have it via email, or we can have it via the phone, the conversation via the phone, or what have you. We have a whole pyramid about these things.
Brett Bartholomew 12:38
And if you’ve ever experienced a miscommunication in your life, chances are you know, as we go through this, you’re going to be able to identify where or why it originated via these components. So let’s talk about component number one. And this is the most obvious. So if you’re going to eyeroll, you can enroll now, the communicators, right meaning who’s involved, know your audience know yourself. So mentioning that you need to understand the people communicating or what the research would call the interlocutors. Seems obvious, right? But you’d be surprised to learn how many people don’t fully understand their audience before sharing an idea.
You can’t craft a personalized and persuasive message. If you don’t know the people that you’re speaking to intimately give you a stat here in 2018, the United States alone spent $151 billion in advertising, and more than 300 billion with a B was spent worldwide. Numbers that continue to increase to this day. That kind of money guys isn’t wagered on a crapshoot. You know, these fortune 500 companies and other organizations don’t just blindly hire social media managers, marketing, directors, CMOs, all these kinds of things, thinking that it doesn’t make a difference. I mean, these are all communication can be measured very intricately.
Brett Bartholomew 13:58
If you just look at the marketing research, the stuff they’re seeing in social media and measuring interactions, the time spent on an app, we had a conversation the other day, we were talking about how environment dictates a lot of behavior. And we were talking about if you look at tick tock, which I’m not on, I don’t use it, I don’t have a thought about it one way or another. But apparently, when you load it up it immediately start showing a video, unlike, you know, Netflix or what have you and Netflix has changed recently. But the reason they do that is they want to take the decision, you have to make a way, they just want you to immerse right into consumption, because that’s a lot of social media consumption versus connection.
Well, if you get on Netflix, sometimes you’re like, alright, well, what am I going to watch or anything? There’s a search involved and you can search in TikTok too from what I understand. But the point is, is that these companies are figuring out Hey, who is our audience? What are they dealing with? And how can we get them immersed onto our platform with the least amount of effort because that’s the thing if you look at social behavior, behavioral economics, make it easy for people to join and make it easy for people to consume. And I used to do this as a coach, even when I’d write out my templates, you know, my athletes wouldn’t understand a one and a two and not because of their dumb but because they’re seeing an Excel template that has grid lines. And you know, it’s not something that they looked at a lot. So eventually I started learning Alright, how can I color code this? How can I gamify it? How can I make it more intuitive? Well, these apps do the same thing.
Brett Bartholomew 15:22
And if you want to be an effective communicator, you’re gonna have to always look at that too, who is your audience, because understand that the research out there talks about if you spent a lot of time really researching who your audience is, obviously, you’re going to be more effective. I mean, every successful interaction guy should begin with what the other person cares most about. But I’d ask you, you know, for those of you who are rolling your eyes, put the top 10 most meaningful people in no particular order in your life right now, or put the five people you’re going to interact with the minute you walk into the boardroom, the weight room, the classroom, what have you today? Who are they? What do they care most about? What are their pains and fears? How do you even know? Are you assuming? Have you asked, right?
So careful before you say, Well, yeah, I get it, the communicators, not as easy as you think. Two, the message, getting your point across as a matter of clarity, conciseness, and simplicity. So at its core, the message is about what you’re trying to say, you know, think of it this way, if your main point was on a billboard, and an individual is driving past it on the interstate, could they understand what you’re saying, in the three to five seconds, it remains in their field division, because it is like, it’s like that, guys, you have to think about that you see a billboard, I always happen to see those ones with a crappy lawyer, right? need this call this strong arm, right, or my buddy’s an attorney down in Texas. And he always talks about some guy called the Law Hawk, the lawyer billboards are the worst, but they’re effective. Because these guys know what’s going to capture your eye. And they put them around the highway because you know, these Better Call Saul types know that the minute somebody gets in a wreck, they want to be able to look up, see the billboard and call them. None of that is by accident. None of it is by accident. It’s all by design. So you have to think, what’s your message? How are you designing it?
Brett Bartholomew 17:10
You know, at the end of the day, you know, I was talking to my wife the other day, we love to living in Phoenix loved it, and we love Atlanta as well. But the other day, we were kind of talking back and forth about where our potential just kind of daydreaming where would our “forever home” be? We both moved so much for our profession, me for grad school, for undergrad for internships, for jobs, you know, what have you. And, you know, we’re kind of waffling on in the conversation. And I said, Listen, at the end of the day, I just want to know where you would be excited to wake up to every day? And what would give you the most fulfilling life from a landscape perspective. And that just orient it back to what this conversation is about. So, you know, think about whether your message is or is not clear enough.
There’s so many misunderstandings that if you’re just, if you even think about dating, we were watching a show the other night, we try to watch one hour of TV every night. Yes, we do that because otherwise we’ll make our whole lives about work. And we need that just one, it’s been a huge thing in our relationship, because we’re just too independent. And if we don’t make a conscious effort to come together, and sometimes that’s walks and what have you, but we vary it up. But this woman in the show was trying to kind of you know, just tiptoe around the fact that she had interest in this guy and like, how much easier would it be in life, if you’re like, hey, I find you interesting, I’d like to know more about you. Do you want to grab a bite to eat, but we cloud our messages so much. We just do and in everything. So when especially when we’re extremely passionate or knowledgeable about something, we often become verbose when it comes to conveying our idea because we’re too close to that information.
Brett Bartholomew 18:43
We’re too close to the information, the idea itself or the emotions we’re experiencing, we forget about that curse of knowledge and the fact that just because we hear the beat of the song metaphorically in our own mind, others couldn’t trace that tune, even if we, you know, tapped it on the desk made them guess what it is giving them hints, you know, you have to focus on the content itself. Create a clear pattern of thought. Try to configure your ideas, take a breath. And remember, skilled communicators fashion, what they say and what they do on an ongoing basis, it can evolve. You know, our company mission and vision statement has evolved at Art Of Coaching, your mission and vision statement is going to evolve, your life is going to evolve. So embrace them.
Three is the medium. And you heard me allude to this a little bit earlier. Right. So becoming a better communicator, relies on much more than the things you say and how you say them or the nonverbal. It’s also about the medium in which you choose and whether that fits the broader context of your goal. For example, you know, if you’re gonna quit your job, probably shouldn’t do that over text. If you’re trying to impress somebody probably shouldn’t do, you know, probably shouldn’t send a bunch of emojis in your first communication. If it’s the weekend, and you need something from a colleague or a co woco-workerrker, and you guys have certain guidelines about a when is you know, when are people off? When are people on, what have you? That’s for the person listening goes, well, I’m never off, I work all day, right? I’m not going to call certain people on our staff on the weekends, unless I have to, well email, you can schedule the email if you have a no weekend communication rule, right like that. That’s best for email or scheduling attacks, there’s so many different things. And it’s even deeper than that.
Brett Bartholomew 20:29
Think of medium as the means in which you choose to convey a message. Right? And they have interrelated elements, but I’m going to break it down in three things for you. So you have the presentational medium, which is how we alter the inflections in our voice face or body. Right like Hey, guys, like that’s a different presentational medium than Hi guys, really excited to have you as part of the podcast today. That how I present that is one piece, representational how we draw upon imagery, paintings, photos, emojis, right, like emojis are kind of the hieroglyphs of today’s civilization. But cave drawings were an example of representational do you use PowerPoints? You know, what have you do people use infographics on social media, and then technological, which is what I talked about earlier.
And this is where that communication pyramid I referenced comes back into play. This is the use of Internet phones, TV radio. So you have this message you have to think is this best for a zoom call a face to face meeting, a phone call, should we use Slack? Should we use WhatsApp? You have to think about that it for our company. If we’re talking about something like a contract or something where we’re trying to get a negotiation on point, we’re always going to try to do a face-to-face phone call or video call. Now for saving that contract. It’s always going to be an email, right? So if it’s a quick check in about a task, we may use Asana or WhatsApp.
Brett Bartholomew 21:51
So there’s all kinds of little things that you have to think about what’s appropriate, and I’m going to push you you need to have standards for your organization. You need to say guys, how do we, how does everybody prefer to communicate? Great noticed? But how do we need to communicate? And in what situations can we find the best balance of how you prefer it, but what is optimal for this situation, and then create those standards. So like I said, choosing the technological medium, of a text message or quit your job or breakup with somebody been in a relationship with would be a poor use of a medium. If your goal is to communicate skillfully and respectfully, of course, why? Simple guys texting in those types of situations is impersonal, unprofessional, and lacks what is known in the research as social presence or media richness. It’s why, you know, sometimes I’ll get emails and it’ll be eight paragraphs long. And I’m always touched, I’m honored, but you’re likely going to get a voice note from me why?
Well, one, it’s more effective and efficient and personal, right for me to sit down and write, you know, response to the eight paragraphs, I don’t always have that time. That doesn’t mean I don’t have the thoughtfulness to look through your email, it just means that I can send you an audio note. With clear quality, clear intonation, you know the context, you know how I’m feeling, right? There’s no subtext there, I can do that in three minutes, we’re typing that back to you and maybe take you know, I don’t know 15, 20. It depends. And I’m a pretty quick typer. But I like to be thorough, and I want you to know that I care.
So you think about what conveys the most media richness because social presence, that whole idea is the degree in which a medium is experiences warmth, thoughtful, personal, meaningful. I, when people join one of our programs like the Coalition, you know, they get a handwritten note, when people buy Conscious Coaching through our website instead of Amazon. And it’s not because I don’t prefer one way or another. It’s all good, guys, I appreciate it. But if they do it through our website, we actually ship it whereas Amazon ships it. I’ll write a handwritten note, if I seal an envelope nine times out of 10 it’s going to be with a wax stamp that I actually sealed.
Brett Bartholomew 24:00
Now, the other person may never know that but those are my little ways of trying to convey you know, richness and warmth, richness in terms of you know, hardiness and care and joy and appreciation for the discussion, nothing to do with monetary and so we look at those things and we think about hey daily, how are you conveying appropriate or proper media richness or social presence? What are you doing to ensure that when you interact you come across as intended? Right? Are you just firing off a quick email or quick this or quick that with no thought and assuming that the other person thinks it’s okay and maybe they do you know, like, my assistant Jordan knows I hate email. So she gets a brief response from me. She knows that has nothing in personal, she knows to never read in between the lines. There’s nothing there. Because she knows that how I am we have that relationship. So that’s okay. But not everybody is going to know that. Not everybody is going to know that.
And so we have to think about those things and maybe may make sure that we’re not taking them for granted. Because what you think the other person understands, is just not the case, guys. And it’s deeper than that. So think of it this way, with social presence being the degree in which that medium text or a face-to-face or a handwritten note is experienced as warm, the lower that social presence is the colder the message. And in turn, the messenger is going to seem within context, of course, and relative to that interaction, all right, most of you have been great, you know, I can tell the people that have listened to the podcast, because you’ll reach out and be like, Hey, I know you hate email. I know I hate this. A quick replies, Yes. Okay.
And that is so freeing, because it gives me permission to write you back quickly, without wondering if you’re gonna misinterpret it as me being cold, because that’s, that’s never the case. Okay, I think we get this, I think we understand these pieces, but it is missed a lot. It is people just forget that a text message and even an email which God people love, email, can’t convey anywhere near the same level of information, with respect to body language, tone of voice, or even the impact the decision has on the individual conveying the message, just not the thing.
Brett Bartholomew 26:09
So I think another example just to be obvious, but in the spirit of being helpful, have weak social presence and low Media Richness would be two colleagues, utilizing the format of email to resolve a deeply interpersonal conflict with one another, there’s just not going to work. It’s not going to work at all. And again, it’s present, even in our company, guys, I emailed a staff member the other day, said something, you know, said, hey, I look forward to seeing your work here. And they were like, I just feel like that can’t be true, you know, my work is not meeting my own standards, and what have you. And, and I said, no, I’m actually looking forward to it, we’re trying to find the, you know, best fit and where you flourish. And so we had that conversation and hash that out.
So number four, the channel. This one’s pretty quick, but you need to have it just so you understand the nerd in the research orientation of the nerd part of it. Simply put the channels what’s responsible for connecting the medium, the messenger, and the message itself, right. So DeVito, 2013, hits the nail on the head, when he describes it as a bridge, the channel is a bridge, it’s the WiFi signal that allows you to send the email, it’s the sound waves that carry your voice to the boss, your boss’s ear, it’s the cell tower and or satellite that allows you to make that cell phone call.
Brett Bartholomew 27:24
Now, you might think, well, Brett, how is this relevant? Well, imagine you’re somebody with a high baseline level of anxiety, and you just got a message from somebody, and you want to return that right away, but you’re on vacation, or you’re in the airport, or you’re in a noisy cafeteria, or you’re in the mountains, whatever. And you want to nip this in the bud. But you know, if you call it’s going to be poor signal poor connection. But if you don’t call, you feel like the matter is just gonna fester and get worse. What do you do? Do you risk trying to reach out, have that conversation? And let’s imagine it’s something that isn’t, you know, you don’t want to email they’ve asked you to call they’ve asked you address it, you risk of the bad connection and just say, hey, you know, Terrence, a bad connection? Out? Yep. You know, you don’t know. And it’s just little things day to day where you have to think about this timing.
You know, I use Calendly as a call scheduling app. And it’s real simple. It abides by timezone. So I have friends in Australia, Austria, China, just like many of you, you have friends in different countries or states. And the goal was to quit playing phone tag. So if Josh is like, Hey, Brett, I want to, I’d love to catch up. And oh, hey, what’s your Wednesday like, um, and Wednesday is not good. What’s your Thursday, and we go back and forth. I can just send them a Calendly link, and it shows up on their end with the times I have available but in their timezone. Right. So that should be pretty high richness, because it’s saying, I’m putting the power in your hands. Sorry, I hit my microphone there. And you can schedule at your convenience.
But even that fails at times, because people be like, Oh, Mr. Big time scheduling app? And I’m like, no, like, what do you mean, this is, this is meant to save us from going back and forth. 20 times, like I’m actually trying to do something good here. But I also use that to ensure that if I am going to be on a call, I’m in a place where it’s appropriate to take that call. And do I need to have zoom ready? Do I need to have my phone ready? Do I need to go upstairs is the baby crying? So there’s so many things that go into being a clear communicator, right?
And it’s like, imagine one of your, I had an athlete who had a loved one die. Now I could text him because he’s surrounded by family. He’s kind of in his own head and his own thoughts still and understandably so. Not gonna call him right away. I’m gonna text him and he’s okay with that. Similarly, good friend of mine, Pat Chung, the New England Patriots just gave birth. He didn’t give birth, but just had a little girl. Right that morning. I’m not going to call him and interrupt his family time. Now. I want to call them, I love the dude. I do. I love him like a brother. But I’m going to text him. So sometimes that can be counterintuitive too, but you want to make sure you got them message clear the medium, right? All these things, choosing the right channel, and medium and all these pieces is critical for you getting your message across, so nothing gets lost. I didn’t know that that was going to rhyme.
Brett Bartholomew 30:16
Five, the code. So imagine you’re traveling to another country. And you find out that a gesture, a phrase you’ve used or have been using didn’t really mean what you thought it meant. I’ve done this a lot, traveled had the experience of the blessed opportunity to go a lot of different places. And you have to learn on the fly. You’re trying to do your research over there. So you don’t come off like an idiot. You know, you want to, I’ll never forget when I went to Australia, and some friends of mine were watching an NFL game and I asked them, you know, you guys watch the NFL? Yeah, good bit yatta yatta yatta go, What team do you root for? Oh, their term root does not mean the same thing in Australia than it does in the United States. And I’m sure it’s not just Australia, they just died.
Right now, that’s an innocent thing, where we can look at nonverbal hand gestures, things like that mean different things in different civilizations as well. But, you know, if you’ve done that, if you’ve made that mistake, you put your foot in your mouth, you know, what is meant by code. Code is the system of shared meeting by a group of people. Think of it as the legend on the map where we read to better understand the region’s topography or the route we want to travel, in a sense that it designates the signs and symbols are really, as this one’s appropriate. This one is not appropriate based on the values of that individual, or a group, a nation or guys even an organization.
Brett Bartholomew 31:36
Right, there’s tons of things that you can say in certain places can’t say and others, privacy practices, all these things, that’s code. And if you get the code wrong, even the most well rehearsed, and manicured message won’t mean much, and it could likely get you in a heap of trouble. So, you know, great communicators abide by that age-old Dale Carnegie principle of seek to understand, before attempting to be understood for a reason, it can save you a lot of trouble, a lot of embarrassment. Number six, the noise. So becoming a better communicator definitely requires us to cut through the myriad of things that interfere with the message, right? What do we think? What are our biases? What are our emotions in the moment, we want to cut through that. So we don’t screw up the intended effect on a given audience. You’re trying to motivate somebody trying to inspire somebody, you’re trying to give them feedback, trying to reprimand them, what are you trying to do, and noise can be thought of as any form of interference with that success of your message getting through. So, you know, it’s paramount to note.
So you guys don’t get confused that the use of the term noise doesn’t have to refer to an actual sound. It can include somebody using too much jargon, when they speak, someone being distracted that you’re speaking too, the emotional states, right? If I’m trying to convey something to somebody, and, you know, they just got horrible news, there’s so much noise going on, in their own mind, that my message isn’t gonna get through, the media, the effects of drugs of alcohol, how many of you have had a heart to heart where somebody that was either high or drunk or tipsy? And you just realized, like, what am I? What am I doing here, they’re not gonna remember this tomorrow. And you’re trying to get through to them, you know, or and that can be any of these things, guys, poor acoustics while listening to a podcast, we’ve had some technical difficulties on past episodes, and I cringe because there’s nothing we can do.
Brett Bartholomew 33:27
I mean, literally, one time, my child came in here and unplugged something from the wall while I was recording. And so we had to like record on a separate thing, because in my computer died, and it was just a nightmare. A guy coughing during a movie is noise. And yeah, even a baby screaming in the background when we’re trying to catch up with an old friend. So it’s helpful when you’re categorizing this, to look at anything that could degrade or distort one’s intendant message as noise, right? So and remember the bonus tip, like code.
Noise can also be attributed to cultural or ethnic, different differences in perception, right? Like if you if you have certain biases, like people do, and we’ve talked about and we just had, we’ve, I mean, we’ve had numerous episodes on this podcast about racial bias, social injustice, things like that, and all kinds of things that create noise and other forms of perception that may degrade the message or your perception of the message. Get it yet.
Communication is complex. And that’s why it’s so critical that you understand these things. Alright, two more and we’re out of here. Feedback, truly effective communicators and leaders and you’re going to hear a podcast on this in the in the coming weeks, crave feedback in various forms. The skilled communicator praise feedback, they want to know I know many of you want to become better communicators. If you’re listening to this podcast, chances are, you know, you don’t become better at leading and coaching and communicating just by happenstance just by doing that, if that was the case, anybody that has coached for a significantly amount long amount of time and observed other coaches would be a great coach.
And that is not the case. Right? So feedback in general is how we can better ascertain whether that message was received. So that’s what I’m saying, Guys, like some of you that think you’re strong, even me, I think I’m decently strong at it. But when I asked for feedback, or we get surveys or responses, and we do objective and subjective feedback, sometimes I find my message isn’t getting across. Do you? How do you know just because you said it, you stated it correctly, you’re in line with the research, used a word or two, that person smiled, they nodded. Not enough. Not enough feedback, guys need to look at it more deeply than that you need to take a scientific view at these things.
Brett Bartholomew 35:45
Finally, the context. Now it’s best to think of context. And really all of these things that I’ve mentioned, could be categorized as context. But think of it as the situation circumstances in setting where an event occurs. And that’s straight from the research because I got tired of people saying what depends on the context. And then I’d ask, well, what is the context mean? So then I went down a deep, deep, deep, deep, deep rabbit hole, about context. It’s really noisy in my brain, you don’t want to go down the rabbit holes, I go down, I promise. I promise. I’m pretty weird.
So in simplest terms, context equals common ground. It’s what two or more people really need to know, to understand an action, a motive an utterance. So when people say, Hey, man, Hey, Coach, Hey, Brett. Hey, guy, having trouble getting buy in what can I do? I don’t know. What’s the context? Hey, I have a difficult leader or a difficult guy on my team, you know, trying to do this, what’s the context? Hey, what should I do my shoulders hurting? What’s the context? Oh, and by the way, I’m not a medical doctor. I can’t answer that. I’m not a PT.
Brett Bartholomew 36:51
But without context, questions can’t be answered thoroughly. Without context, we erroneously judge others without knowing all the facts. Right. I’ve had people that thought because I wrote a book that was a best seller that I’m rich, they have no idea what, they have no idea what like, hey, no, Amazon gets paid. And then I get a small percentage. And then guess what it costs money to write the book. And then it costs. Like they’re thinking about the things that you’re erroneously judged on, I’m sure you guys could come up with a huge list.
Think of all the things that people have judged you on? Are they just kind of jumping? There are people that burn a lot of calories, jumping to conclusions? See what I did there? I’m really clever. But without context, anything we say or do is easily misconstrued, non-exhaustive categories within context, if it helps you can include the following physical, right? Where did this conversational event take place? Was it at a rock concert? Did it happen at a funeral? Was it you know, like, think about that temporal? What was the timing of the message? Did you ask for all the raise when the boss was in a poor mood? I asked for a raise one time in October when I worked for this one company. And I had not known that next year’s fiscal budget was already said, if I wanted to raise I had to come to the table earlier.
Good hint for some of you, know when to come to the table? Cultural, right? What instructs how you act based on the values and norms of the collective? You know, should you think about even just being at a seminar? Should you raise your hand during the presentation? Should you wait? I don’t know. That’s different that depends on the presentation. And the nature of the seminar just could depend on the culture, relational. You know, I say some pretty ridiculous things in my house. If Alexa is listening, and she is, I could never run for president not that I ever would. But there would be a plethora of things people could use against me.
You know, we just use like, you’re at home, right? You’re just like, you’re making dumb jokes. You’re talking to your dad, like my oh my gosh, if my dad came is over here, my dad tells the worst dad jokes and some of them I’m like, Hey, Dad, you can’t say that anymore. You know, and, but like, relationally I would never consider my dad to be culturally insensitive. Or like, if you use the term from like, his childhood, or what have you, like, I’m gonna get on him about it. But like, I know my dad. I know what my dad stands for. I know who he’s about. Right? I know those things. It doesn’t make it right. It doesn’t. We’re not getting into this right. But the point is, is everybody says things behind the scenes, whatever. Like if you tell a dirty joke that you’re not gonna, it was taken out of context, you don’t want that. What freaks me out is the deep fakes. Good Lord, they make Jay Z literally somebody has made Jay Z rap Shakespeare
“To be or not to be, that is the question. What that says Noblin to mouth.”
Brett Bartholomew 39:35
And It’s Jay Z’s voice but Jay Z never did that. Promise me this if you’re listening. If some weird stuff ever comes out about me, give me the benefit of the doubt, well, you guys. You’ve heard over 120 some odd podcasts. You’ve read my book. Good lord, I post on social media. I’m on a newsletter. If you hear some weird maybe think it could have been a deep fake or some idiot taken something out of context would Yeah. And that’s where I get You know, people say well, gee even want to have a podcast, you want to be in the public eye? Like, it’s easy for people to kind of misconstrue what you say? Well, I’d argue that it’s the same the other if you’re somebody that doesn’t put your views out there, then how have you ever built up the benefit of the doubt or goodwill or a narrative? Somebody could say anything about you, and then you could come out to defend yourself, but you have no prior body of work to showcase your values, beliefs, and, and where you stand. interesting topic.
Plus, privacy doesn’t really exist anymore. You think Alexa is listening to you try your phone, du-dum dum hear you come me out? test. Situational, right? What was the event itself? If something happened in self defense? You know, did you leave early, do a family emergency? What have you so think, before you point the finger and think that something is a personal issue as somebody scale back and think maybe it’s a situational issue?
Again, look at the physical, like the physical context, the location, the temporal, the timing, the cultural, self explanatory, the relationship between them, my wife, and I, my wife will call me, you know, beep, she’ll be like, Hey, don’t do that. You’re dumb beep. And if you I remember one time, we had a friend over, and he like, reached out to me in private, he was like, Hey, man, like, I don’t really, you know, the way you guys talk to each other. That’s kind of concerning. And I’m like, what? Wait, what? Oh, my wife and I, we like, what are you talking about? We, like, and I just thought that was so odd. And he’s a great person. I love him to death. But he was trying to tell me how like my wife and I should joke around with each other? No, my wife and I joke, we call each other names. It’s all loving. Is that appropriate your relationship? Can’t tell you, right? I don’t know your relationship. I can tell you this. Wouldn’t judge, wouldn’t judge to each their own. So final thoughts, guys. The greatest distance between two or more individuals is miscommunication.
Brett Bartholomew 41:52
Bottom line, bottom line, there is a difference between being someone who is easy to understand. And being someone who is nearly impossible to misunderstand, think about that run it back DJ and just as a great detective would look for what’s missing when it comes to solving a mystery. A great communicator looks to ensure they consider all of those components we talked about above. When it comes to connecting with others. Is it hard? Absolutely. Can it be frustrating without question, but don’t sit here and tell me coaches that you know the sets and reps and velocity based training zones and you know this and that and you can’t memorize this, don’t tell me any other profession that you can remember all the nuances of what you have to do.
And you can’t remember this. There’s eight components, guys, eight simple components. And if you forgot them, we have nearly an identical transcript of this on brettbartholomew.net, right? It is on my blog. And like I said, since you’re still here, if you guys want to learn how to become better at these things, we do online communication training. We do all these things artofcoaching.com/communication. You’re in medicine, artofcoaching.com/telehealth.
We do mentoring. It’s a good thing if you realize you’re not a great communicator. That’s something you need to work on. Don’t get me this iron sharpens iron, lifelong learner stuff. But then you think you have the number one thing that causes wars, ended marriages, failed business relationships, confidence issues, all that you think you got that on lack? You don’t, none of us will enjoy it. I don’t either. That’s what makes it fun.
Brett Bartholomew, Art Of Coaching podcast. Hope you guys enjoyed this, share it with a friend or twenty. Take care.
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