Mr Emotional Intelligence®
September 25, 2023
Communication can be ambiguous unless you create clarity with your counterparts. Here are a selection of ambiguous communications with clarity examples.
Communication is the lifeblood of any organisation, particularly in the fast-paced business world. Effective communication can propel a team to excellence, while ambiguous or unclear communication can create bottlenecks, misunderstandings, and conflict.
This post focuses on eradicating ambiguous terminologies, promoting clarity, and fortifying the bond of understanding between managers and their teams.
Ambiguous and Clear Time Based Language
Many people use time-related words that are not specific, leaving room for confusion.
ASAP (As Soon As Possible): This term is overused and ambiguous. While it denotes urgency, it doesn't specify a clear timeline. Instead, specify an exact time or date.
Ambiguous: "Please finish the report and email it to me ASAP."
Clear: "Please finish the report and email it to me by 3 PM tomorrow."
In a while: How long is 'a while'? Minutes? Hours? Days?
Ambiguous: "I’ll get back to you with an answer in a while."
Clear: "I'll get back to you with my answer within in 2 hours."
Soon: Similar to ASAP, this term lacks specificity.
Ambiguous: "We need to meet soon to review project progress."
Clear: "Let’s meet this Thursday at 10 AM to review project progress."
Generic Words Which Lack Specificity
Certain words, although commonly used, can be vague in their meaning, leading to misinterpretation or guesswork.
Important: What does 'important' really mean? Is it a priority? Is it critical or just noteworthy?
Ambiguous: "This task is important."
Clear: "This task is the top priority and needs to be completed before any other tasks."
Stuff/Things: Such words are nondescript and can be confusing.
Ambiguous: "Can you handle the stuff in the email?"
Clear: "Will you respond to the questions raised in the email?"
We're all in this together: While this phrase can on occasion be motivating, it can also be generic and may not address individual responsibilities and accountability.
Ambiguous: "We’re all in this together."
Clear: "Each and every one of us plays a crucial role in this project. John will handle marketing, Alice will oversee finance, and I will manage client relations."
Recommendations for Clear Communication
Be Specific: Whenever possible, use exact dates, times, and descriptions. Replace "soon" with "in two days", or "a lot" with a specific quantity like "200 units".
Avoid Jargon: Not everyone may understand industry-specific terms or abbreviations. Always consider your audience. Ask your counterpart whether they understand.
Active Voice Over Passive Voice: Use active voice for clearer and more direct statements. Instead of saying "The report was submitted by John," say "John submitted the report."
Ask for Feedback: After communicating, especially in a meeting or an email, ask for feedback or any questions. This ensures everyone is on the same page.
Use Bullet Points or Lists: When discussing multiple items or tasks, bullet points can offer a clearer format.
Repeat Key Points: Especially in verbal communication, repeating crucial points can help reinforce the message and ensure understanding.
Clear communication is a skill that all managers should master. The clarity created when conveying messages not only boosts efficiency but also enhances team understanding. Remember, it's not about how much you say, but how clearly you say it. Keep it simple. Keep it clear.
Are you ready to transform how your managers and leaders communicate? Find out more about immersive one-day training programmes with Mr Emotional Intelligence®.