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Good vs. Effective Communication

Something that has been on my mind lately is the idea of good vs. effective communication. I particularly have seen this in my own team as well as the teams to whom I provide technical assistance. At times, teams may meet for the sake of meeting, generally talk for a while, and then, leave for the month. As they leave, people will say that they had a good meeting. I don’t doubt that it was good. However, I’m always left wondering if it was an effective meeting. Did we/they/I engage in communication that resulted in a meaningful change for victims/survivors accessing services? Because that’s what an effective team meeting is to me.

I hear folks express that agreement during a meeting is important, and that the meeting went well because all the team members attended. Team leaders I talk with discuss being grateful one or several of the agencies showed up to a meeting at all. This profound sense of gratitude may signal that there is a lack of mutually challenging and beneficial communication happening among the team members or their agencies. It’s also a sign that there might be some deeper issues to resolve within the team’s functioning. However, at the very surface level, we can see the issues in communication. And, I want to ask: how can we begin to engage in effective communication?

Effective communication is the engine that drives change in our communities and the system’s response to sexual violence. Truthfully, I don’t have any easy or quick solutions. This post serves more to open up the door to discussion around a difficult and, sometimes, challenging issue of effective team communication.

How can we move our standards of communication beyond good to find effective?