There is no activity that we engage in more often than communication. Be it listening, talking, reading or writing, we spend more time communicating with others than practically every other activity combined. This has significant implications for both individual and organizational effectiveness. Since we spend so much time communicating, it behooves us to do so as efficiently and effectively as possible. Unfortunately, most of us do not maximize our communication effectiveness and this exacts a significant organizational cost. Specifically, there are ten things we know about communication:
1. We spend 90% of our time communicating with others on a daily basis. This includes listening, talking, reading & writing.
2. Managers spend 80% of their time communicating orally with others on a daily basis.
3. During communication, people spend more time listening than any other activity (e.g., reading, writing and speaking). Unfortunately, most of us are not very effective listeners.
4. The average listener retains only 50% of what is said immediately after hearing it.
5. The average listener retains only 25% of what is said 48 hours later.
6. The average listener retains less than 10% of what is said a week later.
7. Research consistently shows that the single most important skill that people need to perform well on the job is the ability to communicate effectively with others.
8. The two most important factors in helping graduating college students obtain employment are their speaking skills and listening skills.
9. One study of top executives estimated that poor communication costs organizations between 25% and 40% of their budgets.
10. Another study of top executives estimated that 14% of each 40 hour work week is wasted specifically due to poor communication between managers and their staffs. Based on a 50 week year, this amounts to 35 wasted work days per employee!
NEXT POST – August 11, 2008:
5 Ways to Improve Organizational Communication