Message Understood

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In the military it is crucial that orders are clearly understood. When a Staff Sargent gives a message to a Private, he will have him or her repeat the message. It’s not because the Private is ignorant that the message must be repeated but it’s to make sure the instructions are understood. If the private can’t repeat the message verbatim then the Staff Sargent will repeat the orders again.

I remember when we were in boot camp, the company commander would have us on the parade ground marching. For approximately 2 weeks after we arrived, when the company commander would say, “Right turn, march,” some of the recruits would turn left. This caused a mess because those who did not follow the instructions would march into those who did. The company commander would always yell, “your other right, your other right!”

Some of the recruits did not understand the message but after the first 2 weeks, every recruit understood the message and could follow the instructions. 

When having a conversation with one of your children, it may work for you to have them repeat what you said; however, in a discussion with other people, it’s not very practical. You wouldn’t tell one of your best clients, “Repeat exactly what I said and until you get it correct or we are not leaving.” Your client would tell, “You are leaving and leave now!”

A good practice to have for ensuring that your message is understood is to ask some key questions. Below are examples of key questions to ask. You may not use all of these every single time.

1.      What questions do you have for me?

2.      What impressed you the most?

3.      How will this benefit you or your family?

After the other person answers the question(s), then you can recap what you have said. You don’t have to repeat every single detail but the crux of the message needs to be spoken again.

A pastor once told me that in a good message, tell the congregation what you are going to tell them, tell them what you just told them and then tell them again. In my calculation, that’s telling them the message 3 times.

What is the best way that you have found for making sure your message is understood? Comment below.

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       James Barber

       Author of the Networking Guru