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Questions Create Clarity & Put You in Control

You can reclaim control and claim a host of other benefits, too, if you create clarity.

Has this ever happened to you? You leave a meeting or conversation and act on what you heard. Soon (but not soon enough!), you detect that someone else had a completely different interpretation. Your actions aren’t a match to their expectations.

The communication failed, but no one initially recognized the breakdown. Communication is only successful if all parties reach a common understanding. We frequently close conversations without understanding when we’re not “on the same page” with others.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place,” said George Bernard Shaw. The illusion of communication creates conflict and relationship issues. It’s responsible for wasted time and money, ineffectiveness in collaborations, and workplace stress and burnout.

Dale Carnegie stated in How to Win Friends and Influence People that 90% of all management problems are caused by miscommunication. A 2023 study shows that 86% of employees and executives cite a lack of effective communication as the main cause of workplace failures.Figure has static in thought pattern

The ubiquity of miscommunication is so problematic that experts advise focusing on “not how to be understood, but rather how to avoid being misunderstood.”6

To avoid miscommunication, clarity is absolutely essential.

Clarity is so important that educators consider it the “gateway standard” for living a rational life. Without clarity, it’s impossible to determine what’s accurate, relevant, sufficient, significant, logical, meaningful, urgent, or important. Without clarity, decision-making, problem-solving, prioritizing, and focusing will be unnecessarily difficult. Without clarity, confidence wanes. Frustration and apprehensions debilitate even the most resilient.

When conveying information, avoid misunderstandings and create clarity by:

  • Organizing your thoughts and determining the desired outcome for the communication

  • Choosing your words carefully and eliminating unnecessary words

  • Speaking plainly and sticking to the point

  • Avoiding industry-specific or technical jargon

  • Reinforcing and repeating the most important points

  • Considering the needs of the audience

  • Speaking at a moderate pace with varied (but natural) intonations

  • Adding visual aids or written information for detailed or complex information

  • Making links to what’s familiar and known

  • Starting with the main idea and adding on details that are necessary

This is a snippet from the new book, DISCOVER Questions® for Connections, Clarity & Control, available on Amazon.