Want to know a secret? Of course you do! Here it is: most people do NOT comprehend what they read, or what they hear, unless it is really basic.
Try it out on a few people. Send them an email that is a few paragraphs long, contains some facts and a conclusion and see how many of them actually understand it. You will likely find that more people will fail to understand what you write, than not.
The same goes for some verbal instructions in the normal flow of conversation. Give some people extensive verbal instructions about anything and there will likely be a high failure rate.
Why is this?
Many people have trouble focusing on one thing for any length of time (shiny object syndrome).
People are generally multi-tasking while listening to you (ex. texting, watching sports scores, thinking about their evening, etc.)
We operate in a fast-paced world and people feel that pressure and end up doing a LOT of stuff, with very low QUALITY.
It seems incredulous that all you need to do is actually UNDERSTAND what you hear and what you read in order to stand out as the top contractor at your client site. However, in many cases, that is all it takes!
So how do you take advantage?
Be “in the moment” when you are having conversations. Really listen to what is said. Do NOT let your mind wander!
Focus when reading anything. A white paper, a short story, an email or even a tweet. Do NOT assume you know what it is going to say. Focus and understand it before you let your brain do other things, such as respond!
When YOU are communicating with others make sure that what you say, and what you write, is very simple to understand.
That’s it! You can quickly differentiate yourself from your peers simply by understanding them.