Thursday, 11 February 2016


I don't know about you, but I often engage in distraction activities!! Today I have been trying to focus my thinking on project management, ahead of the CIG e-forum tomorrow, but I find I've been side-tracked into thinking about communication in general. 

So, realising I hadn't blogged for well over a year (well, that's not true, I have blogged weekly over at lynneaboutloughborough, I just haven't blogged here recently), I thought I'd share my thoughts about communication with you. And then, whilst looking through my list of blogs, trying to find bloggingcataloguing, I found one of my others (threebooksinalibrary) and got engrossed in reading some of the posts on that, and realised that that particular blog was probably the one to use for sharing aspects of my life unrelated to my cataloguing work and my tour guiding (à la findingursula).

But, back to communication ...

For me, life is all about relationships with others. In order for those relationships to work properly, I need to communicate, regularly and in different ways. I suppose, thinking about it, I have a number of, well, rules I guess, that I try and live by, particularly when I'm engaged in face2face communication with people. As I said, these are my rules, and are very personal to me, but you might be interested to know what they are:

Never make assumptions about anything - don't assume that people know what you're talking about, why you're talking about it, why you're talking about it now, why you're talking to them about it, nor that they will feel the same way as you do about it ...

Never talk in riddles - for me, this includes colloquialisms, adages, idioms, metaphors, abbreviations, acronyms, management-speak etc.. Obviously, there are some exceptions I would apply, so, for example, I would use RDA in conversation with my cataloguers because I know they know what this means, but in conversation with other library colleagues I might simply say "the standard that governs the way we catalogue". Of course, by applying this idea to my own communication, it often turns into "Lynne-speak" which is probably off-putting for others, and can mean that I will go into minute detail, giving far too much background information! My personal experience of hearing phrases that seem to be in regular use is usually one of embarrassment because I might have a vague idea of what it means, but not a complete idea, which means I have to ask. While for me it might be mildly embarrassing, for someone with less confidence (gosh, are there really such people out there?!) asking for clarification would not be an option, and as a result, the meaning of the communication could be lost. 

Never use, and certainly never accept, "you know" - for me, this is like the "um ..." in a presentation - a simple expression that might tell the listener a lot (or, at least, can lead the listener to jump to conclusions and make certain assumptions). If people use this phrase when talking to me, they're likely to hear "hang on a minute, no, I don't know: have you got time to explain it to me in more detail so I can understand more" - or something similar!

Always communicate more than you think you need to, whilst at the same time avoiding overload - there are times when it's really important to communicate regularly for a while, for example, at a time of change (err, so that's all the time then!), or during the lifespan of a project. Other regular communications could be a staff newsletter, or updating service, and, in my opinion, such communications should appear on same day/time each week/month etc. so that people will come to expect it receive it and look forward to it. And, there absolutely those times when communication needn't be regular, and can probably be more effective because they are unexpected.

Hope you have enjoyed my very personal, unofficial, probably wacky ideas on communication!

See you back here soon - well sooner than 18 months, I hope!       

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