The need to get people in an organization to pull together comes out often in discussions about communication.
Let’s think of it as getting to consensus, to roll a bunch of similar issues into one ball. Further, let’s think of getting to consensus as a process. That is, something that happens as result of a series of deliberate actions on our part.
We start process by analyzing current situation - how far from consensus do we now stand? Do we have embittered, untrusting people in group? Or are we at other end of spectrum, with everyone nearly in agreement? We’ll call this diagnostic stage.
That means we have to listen, rather than talk. Sure, we’re probably anxious to get going and to convert them to our way of thinking right away. But, before that we need to let them talk, and we need to hear them.
That means our listening has to be real and focused. No preparing responses or rebuttals while other person speaks, just listening and absorbing what they say, both explicitly and implicitly (through body language, for example).
After we complete our diagnosis, we get our turn to talk or otherwise communicate. If people with whom we want consensus are generally hostile or unwilling to listen, we’ll either need to be very patient or prepared to shock them. Shocking means challenging, confronting their assumptions and status quo.
On other hand, if everyone pretty much agrees with us already, we’ll approach them much more softly. In other words, we won’t rock boat much.
A key ingredient of our communication will be to explain what’s in it for them. Obviously, we see benefits of consensus, for ourselves and for them. But, do they see beneficial consequences? The need to explain benefits is often overlooked in our rush to communicate.