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Communication Gaps and How to Close Them

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Communication Gaps and How to Close Them

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  • Copyright 2014
  • Edition: 1st
  • eBook (Watermarked)
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-349211-7
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-349211-8

This is the digital version of the printed book (Copyright © 2002).

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.

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Mind the Gap: Communication Gaps and How to Close Them

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Mind the Gap 3

The Ability to Communicate 6

Why Communication Gaps Are Prevalent 7

Closing the Gaps 9

Key Recommendations 14

Gaps Galore 16

Section 1: Gaps in Everyday Interactions 17

Chapter 2: Getting Through: Responsibilities of the Sender 20

Unnoticed Messages 22

Misstated Messages 26

Missed Messages 28

Cluttered Messages 31

Hidden Messages 35

Off-putting Messages 37

One-Sided Messages 40

Unexplained Messages 41

Conflicting Messages 43

Befuddling Messages 44

Informing and Involving 46

Chapter 3: Misinterpretations: How Messages Cause Confusion 49

Two People Separated by a Common Language 50

Terminology Disconnects 53

Clarify, Clarify, Clarify 68

Chapter 4: Untangling Tangled Interactions: Reaction of the Recipient 73

Let Me Count the Ways 75

Ingredients of an Interaction 76

Intake: Candid Camera, with a Twist 82

Interpretation: Multiple Modified Meanings 85

Feelings: What Happens on the Inside 87

How to Put the Model to Use 92

A Few More Guidelines and Some Words of Caution 100

Section 2: Gaps in Building Relationships 103

Chapter 5: Building a Strong Foundation 106

Working Together, Together 107

Foundation-Building Takes Time and Effort 108

Build the Foundation While Building the House 110

Chapter 6: Appreciating and Benefiting from Communication Differences 135

A Framework for Discussing Communication Preferences 136

Where You Get Your Energy: Extraversion (E) versus

Introversion (I) 138

How You Take In Information: Sensing (S) versus

Intuition (N) 144

How You Make Decisions: Thinking (T) versus Feeling (F) 150

How You Relate to the World: Judging (J) versus

Perceiving (P) 154

It Takes All Kinds 159

Chapter 7: Understanding the Other Party’s Perspective 160

On Using a Perspectoscope 162

Start by Scrapping Your Labels 163

Ponder Factors that Influence Other People’s Behavior 167

A Technique for Considering the Possibilities 167

Observe Possibilities from Different Perspectives 172

Become Truly Empathetic 174

Consider Their Case in Making Yours 177

Try Something Different 190

Chapter 8: The Care and Feeding of Relationships 191

Give Thanks 192

Conduct a Temperature Reading 197

Give Personalized Attention 201

Stay Connected 206

Create Communication Metrics 208

Create Relationship-Tending Roles 211

Section 3: Service Gaps 219

Chapter 9: The Communication of Caring 222

Contributors to Customer Satisfaction 223

Universal Grievances 229

Claims of Caring 246

Chapter 10: Gathering Customer Feedback 250

Three Feedback-Gathering Flaws 252

Asking the Right Questions and Asking the Questions Right 258

When and How to Gather Feedback 268

Act on the Feedback Gathered 272

Perceptual Lags 274

Chapter 11: Service Level Agreements: A Powerful Communication Tool 277

Why an SLA Succeeds or Fails 278

Adapting the Tool 297

Section 4: Change Gaps 299

Chapter 12: The Experience of Change 302

Failure to Communicate 303

The Stages of Response to Change 307

Change Models 309

The Satir Change Model 310

Meta-Change 320

Chaos as Status Quo 322

Chapter 13: Changing How You Communicate During Change 323

Respect the Matter of Timing 324

Expect Individual Differences in Response to Change 325

Allow Time for Adjustment 328

Treat the Old Status Quo with Respect 330

Allow People to Vent 332

Listen Proactively 334

Provide Information and More Information 335

Say Something Even When You Have Nothing to Say 337

Empathize, Empathize, Empathize 338

Choose Your Words Carefully 341

Dare to Show People You Care 343

Involve People in Implementing the Change 344

Educate People About the Experience of Change 345

Deal with It! 345

Chapter 14: On Becoming a Gapologist 347

Afterword 350

Bibliography 351

Index 357


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