Over the past few months, people have asked us to listen to the way they speak. More specifically, to listen to the words they use in a presentation, a speech, conversation with co-workers, and family members. The reason why? To make sure that they are delivering what they feel other people need to hear. Notes are taken and the feedback based on the request is provided. The next step is to make sure that the words are matching up with their actions. This is a different blog for another time.
Isn’t communication… communicating? Absolutely. But what are we all communicating?
What is communication? A basic definition says “the imparting or exchanging of information or news”. If this is the case, then we all communicate great! We share information in some way, form or fashion and receive information in those same ways. However, our communication can be diluted, irrelevant, and misguided because what we say does not match up to our body language and/or tone. “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” (George Bernard Shaw)
Nineteen years ago as newlyweds, my wife and I got into a little bit of a heated discussion. I recognized at one point within the conversation that it was not going anywhere so I simply said, “stop looking at me in that tone of voice.” (I’ll let it sink in – stop looking at me in that tone of voice) She busted up laughing, and I realized that what I had said was not only true but an opportunity to recognize that we speak with our eyes as well.
Effective communication is a two-way street that allows the “receiver”of information to respond to the “sender.” For an effective conversation, this is a cyclical process. Equally important is to make sure that our actions and body language match up with what we are verbally saying.
It would be nice if our homes developed this long lost skill. You see, when interviewing potential employees, many employers are looking for those essential “soft skills”. We want to hire people who can carry on a conversation that shares and receives information; not just sends it. It’s a skill that’s applicable not just in the workplace, but in all of our relationships.
We’ve only scratched the surface. There is so much more to learn about effective communication. We all know that we expect more from someone in a leadership role because they are to be emulated or serve as an example to others. To quote James Humes, “the art of communication is the language of leadership.” We as as a people or an organization need to be communicated with and this needs to be clear. If not, people fill in the blanks.
Want to know more about how to better communicate or to work with those around you? Do you truly know what you are communicating? Is it clear? Let’s Communicate!