Remember when you were growing up? If you had siblings, there usually was one who really annoyed you.
What happened when you both started to get into it?
Your sibling put his hands over his ears, looked you in the eye and went: “La, la, la, la, la!!! I can heeeeeere you! Ha!!”
I just made you cringe with this fond memory from childhood.
This single action created a barrier between you both.
Fast forward to now. You have some fairly annoying co-workers who do the same thing. Except these individuals have business and engineering degrees. They may be your Boss.
How do you react when you feel they are acting like children in a business setting?
- Chances are you two aren’t speaking the same language. You talk sales spiel and biz speak; they speak techno babble.
- Changes are you two aren’t on the same page. They only work with their team. You work with your team. You avoid sharing information until it’s unavoidable.
- Chances are you two aren’t on the same timeline. Their project management timeline is lengthier than your sales timeline.
La, la, la, la, la! You can’t hear each other.
Chapter 4 of my book, Do YOU Mean Business? deep-dives into this scenario. Mouthing words at each other in a meeting from time to time isn’t quite the same thing as communicating.
Here are three tips to get from “la, la, la, la, la” to actually hearing each other out.
1) Admit you don’t understand what the other person is saying. Sure, you don’t want to look dumb in meetings. Neither does anyone else in the room. The rest of the folks will thank you: they didn’t understand what the person was yammering on about either.
2) Ask for a more succinct explanation that everyone can grasp. Left brained folks often find it difficult to distill their thoughts into smaller bits of information that are easily digested by colleagues. Communicate using shorter segments of knowledge. Open up the business table for questions and collaboration.
3) Determine a common denominator vocabulary. Some of you work with global teams. It’s hard enough when you don’t understand each other and you are speaking the same native language. What happens when English isn’t your first language? Shakespeare wrote: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Make sure each of you is talking about a rose in the first place.
In Chapter 3 of Do YOU Mean Business? we work hard on breaking down barriers between colleagues.
When everyone takes their hands off their ears, professional silos are destroyed. Instead, meetings and teams become collaborative and productive.
What are you waiting for?
Babette Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC catalyzes businesses, startups and technical, engineering and sales professionals who want to grow. She works with teams who want to collaborate productively and profitably. Top Sales World named Babette one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers and Bloggers in 2013 and again in 2014.
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