Make them Hear what you Mean

by tmhr consulting

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how to communication with development team membersThere are a number of times when you will write or say something that you think is very clear and concise. The problem is that it is not good enough for you to just write or say it you must ensure that your audience, whether they are a client or partner, actually understood what you said.

Two Examples of a Message not being Understood

This week I had two examples of this: one with a client and one with a partner.

The first one was a description to a client concerning what they had to complete for a task we were both working on. I was waiting for the client to finish his part so we could get the task done. When the client did not complete their portion we were sure that the client was just slow but what it turned out was that the client had misunderstood what we needed them to do and they had completed not what we needed them to do, but something entirely different. So they were wondering why we were taking so long to do our part.

It turned out to be a misunderstanding where we had not accurately articulated what we needed them to do. Luckily we had checked with them and were able to quickly correct the situation.

Development Partner misunderstanding

The other example was with one of our development partners. We were working on one of our clients online stores and the setting up of a brand filter function for their product display. One of the things we wanted was the ability for the online store user to select all brands as a filter. This would be a unique function that would allow our users to use a specific brand filter at the sub-category level instead of having to reelect another category to turn off the specific brand filter.

Our partner, after looking at the situation, determined that it was not possible to provide the all brands filter selection. This was disappointing but we trusted our partner and so we had to inform our client.

Found Solution but Did not Convey Proper Description

With the same partner we were also working on adding a few items to the search results pages on the same online store. During our testing we noticed that in the search results screen there was a default selection of all brands for the search function.

When we noticed that we sent a note to our partner wondering if the all brands function on the search results page could be used on the brand filter function for the product display pages. We waited a response from our partner.

What we got back was a response asking how we wanted to change the all brand function on the search results page? Now we were confused.

I thought for a couple of minutes and then realized that somehow we had confused our development partner with our all brands comment.

Determine How to Provide a Better Description

Now the first inclination would be to try and understand why the developer could not understand our request. But then we realized that we had not spent much time in formulating our request and it probably did not do a good job of describing the situation.

So we looked at our initial description and reworded it with a couple of additional examples and then asked our developer to send us back a description of what he understood it was that we described. It took a couple of additional chat session. Not only were we able to convey our description correctly but now our developer has been able to replicate the all brands function from the search results page to the product display pages.

Make Sure your Message is the Version you Want Heard

So when you re-communicating with your clients or partners make sure that what you say or write is understood the way you want it understood and not the way they understood. If you are not sure your message was understood then get the other party to convey your message back to you. This will make that you are communicating and your message is being understood.

So tell us how you ensure that your messages are properly heard. Do you have an example of when your message was not heard properly? How did you deal with the situation? Please share your experiences in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.

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