Speaking the same language

How many times do they say to me ‘my recommendations are just ignored’ or ‘they all nod then go off and do something different’?

Take a peek over the other side of the fence and the problem soon becomes apparent. Managing directors, sales directors and operations directors, all keen to understand the financial implications of what they’re doing, complain that trying to understand finance is like trying to learn another language.

‘If only my finance people would say something I can understand,’ they tell me.

Finance people want to be heard and non-finance people want to understand, but a desert of poor communication consistently thwarts them.

Everyone hides behind jargon – accountancy isn’t the only profession to fall into this trap. We learn it during training, we reinforce it talking to other finance people and we forget that others don’t understand. Or we use it deliberately, hoping to fend off awkward questions and challenges.

How can you make your wisdom more accessible to customers, both internal and external, and communicate more clearly?

Being aware of the problem is the first step. If you’re conscious that you need to make an extra effort, there’s a good chance you will take time to explain more clearly. Many colleagues will become expert at understanding a particular set of schedules, so seem to understand more than is really the case.

Good communication is the responsibility of the communicator. To be more effective, it’s important that input is listened to, understood and acted upon. To succeed, as much effort needs to go into the delivery of our message, as into the preparation.

So the next time you feel you’re shouting and no-one’s listening, try making it more accessible. You may be surprised by the results.

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