by Kristin Ebert.
Kristin, a St. Louis native, holds a BS in International Business and an MBA from Saint Louis University. Upon completing her Masters, she spent the next 15+ years in various branding, product development and management roles in the Consumer Packaged Goods industry before taking a ‘hiatus’ to care for family and then start her own. She has loved every minute she spends with her 4 year old twin boys.
I am sitting on a plane on the runway, delayed, waiting for any information on when we might be able to take off and better yet, will I actually make my connection. The lack of communication in these types of situations make for a somewhat frustrating situation, or they could. Lucky for me, while I am anxious to get home, I have no urgent concerns that will be significantly impacted by my lateness, other than missing another night of hugs and snuggles at bed time. I have my cell phone, the ability to send and receive texts, emails or calls from my husband, my sitter, my mother (aka, my village) to ensure that the list of things necessary to be completed for a successful night and potentially tomorrow morning will be carried out and completed, to hear what is going on when I am not there, to see (my favorite) what the boys are up to while I am sitting in the airport waiting for an update. That is, I have the ability to communicate clearly, provide direction (sometimes more detail is necessary than others depending on who in the village I am talking to….) and do so frequently.
Simple, right? You would think so, we talk and text and email and tweet and snap and post all day long. Of course we know how to communicate. Not really. We spend a lot of effort in talking and putting ideas, thoughts and feeling out there but one of the most critical pieces of effective communication is in what is not being said. (My husband is not a fan of this).
We have all heard, ‘think before you speak’ but the truth to this is larger we often consider. Communication is bigger than telling someone something, it is a tool to open doors, solve problems, build rapport, achieve goals and it all starts with knowing our audience, knowing what motivates them or scares them and how they best absorb information. That’s right, the most important part of communication is listening. Not just listening to the response to what we say, but listening and understanding before we speak or type so that we can ensure our message is received, is relevant and something they can respond to. (Because communication is a two-way street).
So now that I am home, and finishing this piece up, I will tell you that I need to take my own advice. While sitting at the gate, cursing the weather and the airlines and calling home to request pictures of what the kids were doing and texting updates, I failed to listen to what was going on in the background, I didn’t take in to consideration that the sitter had left early because I was supposed to be home, that my husband had that beer (or two) after exhaustingly getting the boys down and my very late text that I did not have keys, well, let’s just say, it didn’t wake him up on the couch.