There have been times where a colleague and I have both read the same email and each had completely different interpretations. We’d both filled in the gaps and drawn conclusions based on our past experiences, our relationship with the writer, and even our mood at that particular moment.
As we write in our Communication, Collaboration and Coordination book, communication is made up of both sender and receiver. In a group who have worked together for a long time, due to their shared history, the receivers are more likely to understand the same thing, even when much is left unsaid. In a growing organization or a new team, the plurality of experiences means that this is far from guaranteed and the risk of misunderstandings much higher. When being aligned is such a big part of being successful, we can’t underestimate the importance of clarity in how we communicate.
Can you be more explicit when communicating your thoughts and expectations to ensure your message is clearly received?