Communication Is a Means to an End

Christopher Witt —  November 5, 2014

Improved communicationsMore and more companies have been approaching me lately to help them improve their communications, internally and externally.

It’s hard to disagree with their desire for “improved communications,” even if what they’re asking for is vague and undefined.

When I do a bit more digging, I find that their real concern is more about solving problems than about improving their communications.

They have problems — with productivity, conflict, teamwork, turnover, customer retention, etc. — that they attribute, rightly or wrongly, to ineffective communications.

Improving communications is a means to an end. The end (or the goal) is what matters.

Improved communications doesn’t necessarily solve problems.

  • If you have an inferior product or service, talking about it more clearly to your prospects won’t help you sell more of it.
  • If you’ve hired the wrong people, helping them communicate more effectively won’t, in itself, improve morale or teamwork.
  • If you lack a coherent strategy and plan for implementing it, clear and consistent communications won’t get you on track.

Improved communications does, however, provide the means by which you can solve problems.

  • It allows you to identity, analyze, and remedy what’s wrong with your product or service.
  • It allows you to figure out why you’re hiring the wrong people in the first place and what you can do about it.
  • It allows you to develop a strategy and to put in place measures for implementing it.

Communication is a means to…

  1. Sharing information and ideas
  2. Building goodwill and trust
  3. Facilitating teamwork and collaboration
  4. Enabling decision making

And all those things are what make problem solving possible.

A failure in communications inevitably causes problems. Always and everywhere.

Improving communications doesn’t necessarily solve those problems. It does, however, make it possible solve them.


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Christopher Witt

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Chris Witt was born in Los Angeles, California. He currently lives in San Diego. He works as a speech and presentations consultant, an executive speech coach, and an orals coach.