Last week, I covered why communication is so important to business. Speaking with your clients, team, peers and boss are all critical to your success and are usually the nexus of problems when things go awry. See Part One here.

If you break down the structure of communication, it really is the transmission of information. You say something, I respond. I say something, you respond.

It’s a ‘Give & Take’ relationship, but sometimes the signal lines can be bad. The wires are compromised. Emotions get in the way.

And this can happen in a millisecond. It’s probably happened to you — you are speaking with someone and suddenly — they shut down, they get an angry look on their face, or they bite back with venom. It’s all happened to all of us — we chose the wrong word, or focused on the wrong example — and BAM! We get hit right in the nose. And it hurts.

Especially when communicating information. When selling to a prospect, instructing a team member, or speaking with a superior, one needs to be SO careful — here is the architecture of the conversation.

On one end is IDU — I Don’t Understand.
On the other is YDU — You Don’t Understand.

IDU is the state where the person begins to shut down because you are speaking about a subject they don’t know or understand. You are talking OVER their head. When it happens, the person starts to feel inferior or incompetent and they shut down.

YDU is the state where the person begins to get angry because YOU don’t know or understand their situation. You are talking PAST them. When it happens, the person starts to feel angry or contempt for you — they begin to interrupt or sit and stew with anger.

IDU is on one end of the spectrum and YDU is on the other end. Your job is to remain in the middle with your communication, giving them info while ensuring you don’t venture in IDU or YDU territory.

And the way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to:

  1. Watch for physical signals. They might start looking away or looking angry or impatient. They might not respond immediately or come back with a response that sounds frustrated or angry. On the phone, listen for typing or clicking — they are not listening, they are multi-tasking.
  2. Ask questions along the way. Like: “Are you with me so far?” or “Am I speaking too quickly?” or ” Do you want me to review any aspect of what I just covered?” or “Do you know this already?” This gives the receiver a chance to better understand the information and will quickly take you out of the IDU/YDU area.
  3. Paraphrase their response. When they do respond, paraphrase what you just heard. This will quickly take you out of the YDU end of the spectrum.

Communication is so critical for your success — make sure it is TWO-WAY!