A friend has recently been on the other end of someone’s communication that suddenly revealed that what the other person had intended for them to know was never clearly communicated. And because my friend’s persistent requests, in the past, to have the matter put in writing were never carried out, the end result has been a sudden realization that what the other party meant and what my friend thought they meant were two completely different matters.

Why the matter wasn’t pursued by my friend voraciously was because the other person was their friend. But that in itself was their biggest mistake.

Friend or no friend, it is so important, when it comes to having a working relationship with another human being, that you put in writing your agreement so that both parties understand clearly their part to play in the relationship before signing, and of course, before proceeding.

By having it written down, when there is a disagreement at a later date, you both then have something to come back to, as a third party as it were, from which there can be a resolution of the differences without the maladjustment often caused through emotional distortion, but rather a resolution brought about through the observation of facts.

Communication is very important. It is the basis of all human interaction, and it is for this reason that we must learn ‘to control’ it in a way that miscommunication is kept at a minimum in all our relationships.

Here are what I call the ‘Ten Commandments of Curbing The Communication Crisis’.

These are obviously very relevant to the business and work environment but could be readily applied to any relationship that you embark upon.

1. Find Out What The Other Person Wants.

It is so important to find out exactly what people want. Do this through the art of questioning and listening. When they answer a question, then repeat that answer as another question, ‘So by saying (their answer), do you mean (your interpretation of that answer)? Qualify their answers in this manner, and there is less chance of misinterpretation. Take notes or record the discussion.

2. Record How You’re Going To Fulfil Their Needs.

After you have found out what they want, then present to them the way that you are going to meet their needs. So for every problem that the other person has, provide a solution. Your product or service should be clearly stated and agreed upon, from preparing foods to professional headshots Toronto. If you can’t, then say so. If you can, say so. The important thing is that you provide a platform for open and clear communication.

It may take more than one meeting to gather all the necessary information but stick with it until you have covered all bases. Don’t rush the process. The firm foundations constructed at this level of the relationship will alleviate many problems that could eventuate down the track.

3. Have All This Information Clearly Written Out In Full.

Now from those preliminary discussions, formulate a document that represents both the wants and the fulfilled needs discussed in points 1 and 2. Don’t make it a long and drawn-out document. Put it into point form.

4. Allow Time For Both Parties To Review The Agreement.

Time is important. Provide a copy of this document to both parties and give them time to review it in private. Set a date to get back together to review the document.

5. Make Any Necessary Changes Until Both Parties Agree.

Both parties should mark changes where they think it is necessary, keeping in mind that win/win is the best policy.

6. Both Parties To Sign The Agreement And Get To Work.

Once all the changes have been made and agreed upon, have a freshly finished document prepared. And only when everybody is happy with it, both sign.

7. Review The Agreement From Time To Time And Adjust It If Necessary.

Things change. Make it a point to regularly review the document from time to time so that those agreed-upon changes can be made without too much fuss.

8. Deal With Any Disagreements Promptly With The Document As Your Reference.

Disagreements happen, so when they do arise, pull out the document and see where the disagreement lies. This is not a faultfinding exercise. This is an opportunity to make the relationship stronger.

9. If You’re Wrong, Admit It. Fix It And Move On.

If you’re wrong, as per the document, admit it, fix it and keep moving.

10. If You’re Right, Don’t Gloat. Forgive And Forget As You Move On.

If you’re right, act in humility and know that it is quite possible that down the track, you could be the one making a mistake.