Speak Eagle

How to Reduce the Cost of Misunderstanding

Hi. I’m Dr. Heidi Petak. Senior Creative with Hippo Solutions.

Did you know misunderstanding is expensive? A few years ago, Cognisco asked 400 organizations in the US and the UK to add up the actual cost of misunderstanding in their workplace. It totaled 37 billion dollars! That’s a hefty price tag for not communicating clearly. The truth is, misunderstanding creates fear that leads to costly mistakes.

So how do we reduce that fear? Well, we communicate clearly.

Recently I was at an event for Williamson College where I’m an adjunct professor of communication. Ed Smith is our president, and he does a great job of communicating clearly. He admits the reason he’s so intentional is because he once heard a keynote by rock star consultant Jeanie Daniel Duck. She said, “If you don’t communicate clearly, people will connect the dots in the most pathological way possible.”

So my tip today for communicating clearly is to nip rumors in the bud. That means if there’s something going on behind the scenes in your organization and you can’t tell your workgroup all of the details yet, tell them whatever details you can, in person if possible. Address the rumors directly, and explain clearly why they can trust you: You’re fighting for them, you have their backs, and as soon as you can, you’ll tell them the rest of the story.

If you communicate clearly, you’ll build trust with your workgroup and help them avoid making a costly mistake from believing the rumor mill.

With fear and inflation on the rise, you just can’t afford misunderstanding.

For more ideas on how to reduce fear in your workgroup, contact us at Hippo Solutions.com.