Apr 19

Effective Business Communication – How to Eliminate the Number One Obstacle

Do you wish you had the ability to inspire people into action so they could more easily create greater success and rewarding results? Would you like to know how to foster willing [tag-tec]cooperation[/tag-tec] in ways that everyone enjoys?

Whether you already have good [tag-tec]communication skills[/tag-tec], you’re taking [tag-tec]business communication[/tag-tec] courses and are practicing what you’re learning, or if you realize it’s time to look into new business [tag-tec]communication methods[/tag-tec], this article will help you take your business communication to the next level by learning to create alignment with other people.

What do we mean by alignment, and how can you create it? Read on to find out

Alignment – It’s Not Just for Tires

If you’re like most people, it’s likely that the only time you think about alignment is during your regular car maintenance. While that’s not the “alignment” we’re talking about here, it does operate on the same principle.

In order for your car to function at its best, it’s important that your tires are aligned – that they’re all moving in the same direction. The same is true for any [tag-tec]business relationship[/tag-tec]; they’ll be at their best when the people involved are aligned and moving in the same direction toward a result that is  desired by everyone.

What we’re talking about here is not about improving your communication skills or just learning new [tag-tec]listening techniques[/tag-tec]. Establishing effective business communication, or any interaction where people need to work together to create the best outcome, begins with creating alignment.

Think about it this way: in life, we go about the activity of our lives, heading in our own directions while we’re trying to achieve our own results. At the same time, we are all inter-connected with each other. As we try to achieve the results we want, these interconnections put limits on how far we can go in our direction without the involvement of others.

However, when we have alignment with others about what we want and we start sharing the same vision, it makes it much easier to cooperate with the others involved to get our desired outcomes. Alignment opens the way for mutual satisfaction and greater success.

The First Step is Internal Alignment

Before you can create alignment with someone else, you need to identify and be able to express what’s most important to you about the outcome you want. To do this, you’ll need to identify the underlying [tag-tec]values[/tag-tec] hidden within your desired outcome.

As an example, perhaps your team tends to come lat e to meetings and this impacts your ability to accomplish the objectives of the meeting. So you want everyone in the office to show up 10 minutes before a meeting starts. When you dig down to find the hidden value, you might discover that consideration is very important to you, or you might highly value efficiency and effectiveness. Just remember, within every desired outcome there are values that motivate you to want that in the first place.

Key Points for an Alignment Conversation

Once you identify your own underlying values, it’s time to discover the values that you share within the team, partnership or group. You start this discovery process by expressing the values you’ve identified as important to you in your work environment. Then you ask if those things are also important to the others involved, and if they would be willing to explore ways to create that kind of experience.

As you start the alignment conversation, it’s important to remember to keep it as strategy-free as possible. During this beginning stage, we suggest that you make an agreement with the other person to try and identify what’s important to you about the issue at hand , such as starting meetings on time, before you figure out any strategies to get the specifics of what you want. Once you’ve agreed upon your shared vision, there will be plenty of time to move on to the specifics of how to reach your goals.

It’s also wise if you and the other person, or group, agree to avoid spending time talking about the failures of the past. (Bringing up the past can be useful, but only if it is done to understand the values that may have been missing in the past, but not to assign fault or to justify your skepticism.)

Some other things to include in the alignment conversation include:

  • A willingness to negotiate strategies that are mutually agreeable
  • A commitment to let go of judgments and criticisms
  • An agreement to celebrate all wins that come from this conversation

Putting Alignment Conversations to Work

Alignment conversations are the process of discovering your shared values and creating a shared vision. The [tag-tec]shared vision[/tag-tec] you create might be something like: having a more harmonious working relationships, being more effective, or increasing productivity.

Once you are sharing the same vision, you’re now working toward the same end result — the big picture of what you all want. This will make it easier to create situations that produce results that everyone will enjoy. Once you’ve define your shared vision, you’re ready to effectively [tag-tec]negotiate[/tag-tec] strategies to achieve your desired results.

When everyone is making agreements from a shared vision, you’ll start rolling down the road to cooperation and teamwork with far fewer bumps than you encountered before. Alignment and shared vision are the foundation of cooperation and teamwork that will increase productivity and create rewarding results for everyone involved.


9 Responses to “Effective Business Communication – How to Eliminate the Number One Obstacle”

  1. Dr. Houston Vetter says:


    I could help but comment, you are one of the few people, besides myself that uses the alignment analogy. And I truly agree the first place of alignment is internal. Aligning self with SELF, aligning core beliefs all makes things run smoother and easier. I really enjoy self help articles like yours. Please keep up the good work.

    To Your Best,
    Dr. Vetter – DocResults.com

  2. Novella says:

    Howdy! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site with us so I came to check it out.
    I’m definitely loving the information. I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Excellent blog.

  3. Gad says:


    I believe that the crucial difficulty in achieving my goals lay in cooperation of other fellows.
    I wasn’t aware that the alignment process as described at the article can promote cooperation that eventually can help me achieve my goals.
    I will certainly try it although it needs some practice.

  4. Don Archer says:

    I believe being aligned with a partner is very important, but how on earth do you do that with an employee?
    I love the positivity you suggest and am not doubting the power it holds but employees are not so inclined.
    Any thoughts?

    • Neill Gibson says:

      Hi Don,

      These are some of the most important conversations that can happen within a business. If employees aren’t clear how their relationship with the company serves what they value in any way deeper than simply getting a paycheck every week, then they will likely do very little more than the minimum necessary to achieve that goal.

      If you have employees then I suggest you review all the steps in this post and then practice them with an employee you’d like to see change a particular behavior. During the conversation try to elicit what’s important to them in life and the ways their job does or doesn’t satisfy them in these ways. Then work through the remaining steps of the conversation as described in the post regarding the specific issue.

      If you remain open to creating a shared understanding with your employee about the issue and are you’re willing to create alignment about your shared desires around the behavior you’d like to see shift, I’d wager that you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to come to some agreements about how to make those changes.

      So give it a try and report back what happens. 🙂


  5. Barb says:

    Hello, after reading this remarkable post i am also happy to share my
    experience here with my mates.

  6. Lucile says:

    Hey there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.
    Anyhow, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back frequently!

  7. Dangerous Linda says:

    good advice, except you give no strategies for moving forward when there isn’t alignment between different peoples’ goals. i don’t know if i’m missing something, but the strategy described seems to be based on an assumption that if i share my needs with others openly and honestly they will want to make me happy by doing what i want.

    for example, let’s say i’m the person who is usually late for meetings and the reason is because they lack useful information and i am overloaded with deadlines. quite frankly, i think the meetings are a waste of my time. now what?