Communication is felt to be intuitive, as we have all been doing it since we were born. In fact, that makes people think that they know how to do it well. In truth, most of us are actually not very good at it as we do not understand the complexities of this most important skill. There are many nuances and layers of understanding that can be misinterpreted and not noticed until a problem occurs. If we can learn what these variables are, we will be more able to employ techniques that will allow us to communicate with less assuming and more clarity.
We need to explore where the breakdowns can potentially occur, listen more actively, be accountable for our actions, be assertive when it is necessary, appreciate the gender differences in communication and introduce strategies to deal more effectively with difficult people and with conflict. We also need to be mindful that not all communication is verbal and sometimes those non-verbal messages, like facial expressions, tone or volume of voice, stance or gestures, over ride the verbal ones.
Meaningful, long-lasting relationships are all based on effective communication as that is how we establish the trust, respect and rapport necessary to build, maintain and nurture the important relationships in our lives.
A study conducted by Global Knowledge, indicated that the most important leadership skill is Effective Communication. In order to be a successful leader you need to be able to clearly articulate your vision, give clear directions or instructions, offer honest, constructive criticism, and conduct impactful, influential conversations and presentations to colleagues and team members. You also need to listen respectfully to the suggestions, needs and concerns of your team. Without the skills necessary to do all of those tasks, it would be challenging to build high performance teams, achieve your aims and goals, and create a culture of success and creativity.
Teams that accomplish their common goals usually trust each other, respect the contributions of their team members and together can reach those targets and aims in a positive and collaborative manner. Clear, honest, authentic communication strategies are the most productive in relationships at work or at home.
Miscommunication, on the other hand, is the source of most frustration, resentment, disappointment and complaining; none of which is beneficial to team results or the work environment of any organization. Rather it reduces efficiency, productivity, creativity and the happiness factor of any workplace. When people are experiencing those issues, they will likely become stressed and this will also lower performance levels. In fact, the more stressed workers become the more likely they are to make mistakes, and miss work due to illness, which, of course, puts more pressure on the other members of their team.
In this series of articles I will be giving you tips in all the different aspects of communication so that you can improve those skills.
In closing, remember, communication is not simple; it is most complex and requires the application of appropriate and effective methods to deal with the situations you face in your work and home life.
So pay attention to both the verbal and non-verbal messages coming your way and try not to assume, as that gets us into lots of trouble. Instead, ask more questions if you are confused, give feedback to the speaker to ensure that you understand one another and be respectful of other’s opinions and contributions. If you practice just those few tips you will have fewer unhappy outcomes.