Have you ever participated in an important conversation, walked away thinking there was clarity and alignment, only to discover, later, that there were as many interpretations of what was said as there were people present? Such miscommunications are costly, in terms of time, money, rework, relationship tensions and reputation.
The fix is simple and easy, so put it into practice today: summarize what you heard. Any of the following phrases can be used to check understanding and facilitate alignment:
- Here’s my understanding of our agreement.
- To summarize, our plan of action is…
- Let me recap the key points we’ve discussed.
- My key takeaways from this conversation are…
- Next steps include… Agreed?
The result of regularly, summarizing conversations? Less uncertainty, fewer errors and an enhanced reputation as an effective communicator.