Believe or not there is a lot you can learn about communication from your GPS. Yes, that little piece of technology that sits in your car, the one you use on your phone is actually chalk full of ideas, tips and strategies of how to make you a better communicator.
I love this quote by George Bernard Shaw, ‘The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” That about says it all don’t you think. In today’s world your key to decreasing stress, increasing productivity and creating a better experience for both your customers and your team members is to become a more effective communicator.
Today’s world is more complex than ever, and the power of communication is far undervalued as a key strategy to making life easier to navigate. We have a lot to learn about this skill, and ironically the most effective teacher is our GPS. This little system holds some powerful secrets to helping us learn how to get our message heard, and our mission accomplished all while enhancing our relationships.
So let’s begin by defining what we mean by communication – effective communication. According to business directory.com communication is two-way process of reaching mutual understanding, in which participants not only exchange (encode-decode) information, news, ideas and feelings but also create and share meaning. In general, communication is a means of connecting people or places. In business, it is a key function of management–an organization cannot operate without communication between levels, departments and employees.
Your ability to communicate as an individual and an organization has direct impact on how engaged and motivated your team is, their ability to reach goals and achieve success easily. The power of effective communication is almost unmatched when it comes to increasing productivity, collaboration, decreasing turnover costs, and creates a sense of individual responsibility and ownership to solve problem..
Wow! That is a strong, and I mean STRONG return on investment for such a small nondescript word like communication
So what can we learn, what are the secrets about communication that our little ole GPS can teach us ?
The Five Secrets Our GPS Holds About Communication
- Personal Responsibility – in today’s challenging economic times we need results, and results begin and happen through about ability to communicate the message effectively. Taking responsibility for how you communicate is lesson number one. Note that our GPS never gets made, blames or assumes we are stupid if we miss a turn, go the wrong way or ignore her, she just recalculates. In other words, she takes responsibility that how the message came across was not effective for us, and she backs up and starts again.
- Asks Questions – another great feature of our GPS systems is leading with questions. At no point, does she assume she knows what we want or what we need to learn. No instead she begins by asking us, getting us involved, and gaining clarity about what we need. Imagine, how effective a strategy this is? To begin communicating by gaining clarity. So lesson number two? Begin communicating by asking questions
- Accepts & Adjusts – no judgment, no condescending tone, just a sheer acceptance of who we are and how we like to communicate best. Our GPS has a gut instinct that not all people are created the same, and she is open to adjusting her style of communication to better connect with ours. You can have a male voice or a female voice, you can listen to directions, just see them on the screen, you can have different types of maps, and the list goes on. Whatever works for you, how you communicate best. This is a strategy every effective communicator must adopt. Understanding how those you want to communicate with best hear the message, and then adjust your style to better deliver.
- Gives You Choice – right from the start she puts you in control. She does not even begin to tell you how to get where you want to go until she gives your options. This does so much to ensure effective communication, while she is technically in charge telling us what to do, by giving us choice she is giving us skin in the game, a role to play, and making us feel part of the process. Wow she is good, and if you want to communicate effectively you don’t communicate “at” people, you need to give them choice so you communicate “with” people.
- Shuts Down – and her best feature, she knows when to stop. By giving you the feature of turning her on or off, she gives you the power to say when you have had enough. Sometimes too much communication shuts down the process. People need time to hear and digest the message, and by giving them the option to do so, to turn you off, you increase your ability to communicate.