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Communication Gaps and How to Close Them

Book Description

This is the digital version of the printed book.

The success of systems or software development depends on effective communication. But have you ever had trouble articulating a complex concept? Have you ever doubted that someone truly understood you—or that you completely received someone’s message?

Managers and technical professionals have to communicate effectively in order to understand client requirements, build work-related relationships, meet market demands, and survive time pressures. So often, though, communication breaks down, and nothing gets done (or done well, at least).

Thankfully, Naomi Karten—author of Managing Expectations—is here to help. Readers learn how to improve the way they handle a wide variety of communication conflicts, from one-on-one squabbles to interdepartmental chaos to misinterpretations between providers and customers.

Drawing on a variety of recognizable experiences and on useful models for understanding personalities, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the teachings of family therapist Virginia Satir, Karten provides a series of powerful tools and concepts for resolving communication problems—as well as methods for preventing them in the first place.

Inadequate communications include misunderstood or missed messages, contradictory or mixed messages, and messages that are intentionally sabotaged. As the author notes, these miscommunications “can have a damaging, puzzling, and counterproductive impact on projects and relationships.” Karten helps readers identify many of the common factors that can cause communication gaps. For example, 

  • mistaken assumptions of understanding

  • lack of follow-up

  • unfixed project terminology

  • emotional baggage

  • personality conflicts

  • mismatched communication preferences 

Karten’s witty, conversational tone makes this book easy to read; her real-life stories and examples make it easy to understand; and her use of hilarious cartoons by Mark Tatro brings her lessons to life.

Communication Gaps and How to Close Them is a must-read for anyone who recognizes that the way he or she communicates in professional encounters, as well as in personal ones, can be improved. With Karten’s useful insights and practical techniques, this book will change not only how you communicate but also how you think about communication.

Table of Contents

  1. About This eBook
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Also Available from Dorset House Publishing
  5. Dedication
  6. Acknowledgments
  7. Contents
  8. 1. Mind the Gap
    1. The Ability to Communicate
    2. Why Communication Gaps Are Prevalent
    3. Closing the Gaps
    4. Key Recommendations
    5. Gaps Galore
  9. Section 1: Gaps in Everyday Interactions
    1. 2. Getting Through: Responsibilities of the Sender
      1. Unnoticed Messages
      2. Misstated Messages
      3. Missed Messages
      4. Cluttered Messages
      5. Hidden Messages
      6. Off-putting Messages
      7. One-Sided Messages
      8. Unexplained Messages
      9. Conflicting Messages
      10. Befuddling Messages
      11. Informing and Involving
    2. 3. Misinterpretations: How Messages Cause Confusion
      1. Two People Separated by a Common Language
      2. Terminology Disconnects
      3. Clarify, Clarify, Clarify
    3. 4. Untangling Tangled Interactions: Reaction of the Recipient
      1. Let Me Count the Ways
      2. Ingredients of an Interaction
      3. Intake: Candid Camera, with a Twist
      4. Interpretation: Multiple Modified Meanings
      5. Feelings: What Happens on the Inside
      6. How to Put the Model to Use
      7. A Few More Guidelines and Some Words of Caution
  10. Section 2: Gaps in Building Relationships
    1. 5. Building a Strong Foundation
      1. Working Together, Together
      2. Foundation-Building Takes Time and Effort
      3. Build the Foundation While Building the House
    2. 6. Appreciating and Benefiting from Communication Differences
      1. A Framework for Discussing Communication Preferences
      2. Where You Get Your Energy: Extraversion (E) versus Introversion (I)
      3. How You Take In Information: Sensing (S) versus Intuition (N)
      4. How You Make Decisions: Thinking (T) versus Feeling (F)
      5. How You Relate to the World: Judging (J) versus Perceiving (P)
      6. It Takes All Kinds
    3. 7. Understanding the Other Party’s Perspective
      1. On Using a Perspectoscope
      2. Start by Scrapping Your Labels
      3. Ponder Factors that Influence Other People’s Behavior
      4. A Technique for Considering the Possibilities
      5. Observe Possibilities from Different Perspectives
      6. Become Truly Empathetic
      7. Consider Their Case in Making Yours
      8. Try Something Different
    4. 8. The Care and Feeding of Relationships
      1. Give Thanks
      2. Conduct a Temperature Reading
      3. Give Personalized Attention
      4. Stay Connected
      5. Create Communication Metrics
      6. Create Relationship-Tending Roles
  11. Section 3: Service Gaps
    1. 9. The Communication of Caring
      1. Contributors to Customer Satisfaction
      2. Universal Grievances
      3. Claims of Caring
    2. 10. Gathering Customer Feedback
      1. Three Feedback-Gathering Flaws
      2. Asking the Right Questions and Asking the Questions Right
      3. When and How to Gather Feedback
      4. Act on the Feedback Gathered
      5. Perceptual Lags
    3. 11. Service Level Agreements: A Powerful Communication Tool
      1. Why an SLA Succeeds or Fails
      2. Adapting the Tool
  12. Section 4: Change Gaps
    1. 12. The Experience of Change
      1. Failure to Communicate
      2. The Stages of Response to Change
      3. Change Models
      4. The Satir Change Model
      5. Meta-Change
      6. Chaos As Status Quo
    2. 13. Changing How You Communicate During Change
      1. Respect the Matter of Timing
      2. Expect Individual Differences in Response to Change
      3. Allow Time for Adjustment
      4. Treat the Old Status Quo with Respect
      5. Allow People to Vent
      6. Listen Proactively
      7. Provide Information and More Information
      8. Say Something Even When You Have Nothing to Say
      9. Empathize, Empathize, Empathize
      10. Choose Your Words Carefully
      11. Dare to Show People You Care
      12. Involve People in Implementing the Change
      13. Educate People About the Experience of Change
      14. Deal With It!
    3. 14. On Becoming a Gapologist
      1. Afterword
  13. Bibliography
  14. Index