The risk of communication is that it is “lost in translation” which is most likely caused by lack of skills in communication. Lack of communicating or ineffective communication can break relationships, it can cause huge distress to others and it can even harm people beyond your wildest beliefs (e.g. bullying)
But communication isn’t just verbal or written, it is also about how you say something and the body language you use. Verbal communication is more than just the words, it is also the tone of voice you use. Written as well is way more than just having sentences strung together.
There is no risk of becoming a too great of a communicator. No one will ever come up to you and say, “You made your point entirely too clear!”
Remember while communicating
- Communication is a two-way street. It isn’t enough for you to be a good communicator. You have to also be a good listener and even a greater detective. Here is why; Listening gives you clues to how your message has been received, does the person sound defensive? Do they have a relaxed or tense stance? Are their arms crossed? Did they lock their jaw? What could you have said to make them frustrated? Was your point to make them react in the way they did?
- No one is a great communicator right of the bat. I mean we are born lumps of flesh that can’t do more than cry. We need constant help and attention. Sometimes we even are enabled to communicate in a bad Not to point fingers at anyone but letting your kid get the candy in the store just because they yelled and screamed and you want them to shut up, isn’t a good way to teach a kid to communicate. While kids have to be kids there has to be some type of a hint for them that hissy fit isn’t a communication skill anyone appreciates. (Let’s not forget that a lot of adults have their versions of hissy fits too) We need to constantly remember that we can and should improve and it doesn’t happen by osmosis… we need to make an effort to learn.
Key Pillars of Communication
- Plan your communication
What are you trying to say? Are you giving feedback? Is there a chance you will offend the person? What are the world choices you might need to reconsider? For example, when giving someone feed back (in the form of criticism) we often do it a) when we have had enough and we just burst out and say something really harshly (or write it). b) we often start accusing; you never, you always, why can’t you ever do what I say. It always starts with a you and it makes a person feel attacked. Change the way you communicate to be more about yourself not the person you are talking to.
How to do this? For example, like this: “I have noticed that I need a bit more guidance in these 3 things. Could you give me directions that are even more clear?” This way we start from our needs and the other person doesn’t feel attacked. They feel like with a change of action they can improve something for you because you need it not because they suck. (Of course, there are some people who just never accept any type of suggestions or criticism. Avoid those people at all cost if at all possible)
2. Time your communication smartly
Don’t start talking to a parent about their bad parenting skills when their kid decided to run away. Don’t tell your partner they suck in bed during a fight. Don’t start giving feedback to someone about them when they are doing it to you. (even if all is actually true) Timing is often everything and quite often we communicate to defend or even offend rather than to resolve. It is also a sign of our insecurities when we defend/offend. Here is a my post on confidence. Make sure that when you speak or write it is proactive and not reactive.
3. Be present while communicating.
It is so easy to not actually listen to what the other one is saying. I do this and so does everyone else. Especially with phones being there all the time. But even when social media isn’t the culprit there are many other ones. We are thinking of what we want to say next, we get annoyed about something the other person said and we tried to keep it in but actually we are just having a monologue inside our own minds. (Go check out my Attention blog post)
Be present, that way you can be a good detective and learn more in the situation than you ever could have just by talking.
I will get back to talking about communication skills soon for couple of reasons:
- We live in a world where we use words to start fights, even wars. The strongest weapons we have are words and I want us to use them to generate peace not war
- We communicate with ourselves a lot and end up hurting ourselves more than anyone else hurts us. This hinders our progress in personal development because we end up not trying anything in the fear or failing, not only in front of others but especially in front ourselves.
- Communication is a key for great well being at work. We need to be able to have clear instructions on what we need to get done and what others need to get done for us. Lack of or bad communication can cause misunderstandings, fights and lead to unnecessary stress. You should communicate to your employees, your co-workers your clients and everyone else in a clear way, in order to save time, resources and build trust between people. This is a great way to improve well being.
More on all of these topics later; don’t hesitate to comment about communication in general or if you want to read something specific related to it.
Thanks for reading as always! See you next time 😉
Here are some recourses for you, in order to work on communication: