How well do you communicate?

So often we try to be politically correct and do not say what we mean. How many people do you know who say what they think you want or expect? Then there is what we are calling “fake news” today. Don’t even get me started on that. It is not about the facts or even what you want; it is about feelings. When this happens, the facts are not presented. The result is, we try to interpret what the person is trying to say. It is not only inefficient; it is exhausting.

By saying what you mean, you present the facts or your opinion so that things can be discussed meaningfully without going through this interpretation stage. It saves a lot of time but also introduces another concern. What about the feelings of your audience? I know we were trying to avoid getting tangled up in feelings, but I doubt that this is possible.

OK, we want to speak the truth and at the same time be aware of the feelings of others. Not easy, but in business and relationships, that is what we need to do. It takes a little thought and some awareness. A good leader learns how to do it.

This is only the first step, and you thought this was going to be easy. Once said, you must mean what you say. If you say what you mean, but you don’t follow through, what have you accomplished?

If you say what you mean, and mean what you say, you can build a foundation of trust. People will recognize that while they may not always like or agree with what you say, they know they will always get the truth. In business and relationships, building trust is important. By saying what you mean and meaning what you say, you’ve gone a long way to building trust. If you don’t follow through on your commitments, that trust will evaporate.

There may be circumstances that prevent you from being open like this. If that is the case, I would speak about why or not speak. If it seems like there is never a good time to speak your mind, I would look at your motive. Are you trying to communicate or mislead? If you are already in a trusting relationship, this should not be that difficult to do. Your partner should allow you the space to speak your mind. In business, this is what is needed to build a good working culture.

Now for that “fake news.” Often this happens because we are afraid to say what we mean and try to develop some credibility by referring to made up facts. When you use “fake news”, it is not our fault; it was the “fake news.” We are not accountable. These days I watch our culture of “fake news” and wonder where we will end up. It is so bad now that even some of the fake news is fake news and you have no idea what to believe. You know that two statements being made cannot both be correct, and you spiral into the interpretation pit. You attempt to put a meaning on what you have heard, and it is exhausting. Sometimes your interpretation inadvertently creates more fake news. Eventually, it gets to be too exhausting, and you just don’t believe anything you hear.

Want to be a leader, be accountable, say what you mean, mean what you say, and do what you say.