The best AND the worst thing in our lives is….
Isn’t that the truth? Besides golfing, communication is something none of us fully master, yet it is such a powerful tool, if we improve our skills! Effective communication can rocket us to success or plummet us to a crash landing in our business or personal lives. And the key to successful communication is understanding, to the best of our abilities, the audience or other person first. This obviously takes time, so if we don’t invest the time first, there is a very good chance that our communication won’t be on target and may not be successful.
Sometimes we get so wrapped up with what is happening in our own business, life, relationships, world, etc. that we focus on ourselves instead of the audience when communicating. We speak from our perspective, not from the audience’s perspective. It’s easy to speak from our perspective because that is what we know, but it can be so much more effective if we take the time to get to know our audience, and speak from their perspective, in a way that they can best understand us and obtain value from us, actually hear and listen to what we have to say.
Another hindrance to communication is fear. Fear of the unknown, the outcome, etc. Fear is a big problem, a huge deterrent in effective communication and acting out of fear produces regrets. Facing fear brings rewards: success, honesty, understanding and maybe even new ideas, collaboration?
Being overly scheduled, committed, worked, not enough time, etc. also hinders effective communication. This is probably something we can all relate to, but if your audience is a priority and important to you, show it by taking the time needed to communicate, because you may loose your “priority” person, client, etc. if you don’t make time.
Interrupting is another way to have a “crash landing” in communication. If we interrupt, we are not listening, we are talking and we can’t do both effectively. Besides that interrupting is disrespectful and tells the other person what we have to say is more important than what they are saying; obviously this doesn’t “win any friends” for us.
Oddly, successful communication isn’t as much about talking, it is more about listening first and foremost! We all know that feeling when someone is either engaged with what we are saying or they are in “la la land” thinking about something else; it’s easy to see. If we are rushed, then we aren’t taking the time to listen, it’s better to slow down and focus on being mindfully present, not somewhere in the future on to the next event. Time is precious, valuable and limited, so when we have it, it’s best to take advantage of it and make it count or we’ve wasted time.
Personally, I believe that successful communication involves honesty. Most people can intuitively spot honesty and dishonesty even though we may not say anything. If we are not being honest, there is a very good chance that the audience knows it, even if they don’t show it or “call us out” on it; and eventually truths become evident, so it’s just a matter of time. Again, it’s wasted time if we are not honest; both our time and their time. No one benefits and the dishonest person ruins his or her reputation in the process too.
Successful communication involves being prepared, organized, thought through in advance. Spontaneous communication sometimes misses some elements if we did not think it through in advance.
If we all work towards getting better at this:
- Get to know the audience
- Communicate from the audience’s perspective
- Face and overcome our fear
- Make time for communication, don’t do it when we are rushed
- Don’t interrupt
- Listen first, then respond
- Be honest
- Prepare and organize our thoughts first before communicating
Then we will be better communicators and avoid some stress in life!