One thing I know (not think–KNOW) about HR is that it’s full of people who never get out of their cave.
You need to get out of your comfort zone. Read and do things outside of the specific HR body of knowledge to be better. That’s how I found myself reading a manual by Mailchimp on how to avoid spam filters. I want to be sure that the messages I craft are not being caught by email providers and firewalls, so I spent some time checking out the guide.
But then I started thinking about our daily lives. There’s a significant amount of noise around us daily. In my role as the communications guy at work, I might be able to get around any technology-related filters, but there are plenty of verbal/human filters that will prevent my messages from arriving at their destinations with the full intent and purpose with which I sent them.
Let’s look at a few concepts on this topic and how to avoid the human filters that prevent communication from taking place. Here are some of the most common email spam issues you would see (hint: don’t include these in ANY of your communications):
- Using spammy phrases, like “Click here!” or “Once in a lifetime opportunity!”
- Going crazy with exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- USING ALL CAPS, WHICH IS LIKE SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS VIA EMAIL (especially in the subject line)
- Coloring fonts bright red or green, adding lots of italics, underlined text, or bold fonts
That covers a few of the glaring problems in the written world, but what about the verbal/nonverbal conversations we have on a daily basis? Here are some ideas to consider.
- Don’t look at your phone when you’re talking with someone. Super rude.
- Do make eye contact. Know how much is appropriate based on what local culture dictates.
- Do ensure nonverbal cues (posture, hand gestures, facial expressions) convey that you’re interested in the other person.
- Don’t assume that everyone understands and processes information in the same way you do.
- Assume the other person is competent, and even if proven otherwise, treat them kindly.
Just doing a few of these will help to avoid problems or confusion when it comes to communication. And when it comes to critical items like overall corporate communications, a little help can go a long way.
What other ways do you see people messing up verbal/nonverbal cues? What advice do you have?