Communication. The most important of all the human abilities, and yet the one that derails us time after time. And it just doesn’t make sense, given that the model of communication is so simple. Sender, message, medium, receiver, feedback to the sender.
Easy, right? Wrong.
The real reason that communication is difficult so often is that humans are complex animals, coming from many different cultures, religions, experiences, races and educational background.
And somehow communicating effortlessly across these differences can be extremely difficult.
The good leaders and those in good marriages are people who have nailed communication. Who are able to get their message across, clearly and in the way it was meant, to any audience to whom they are communicating?
Why? Because they know their audience, they know how to position their message to reach them using appropriate language and media and say it simply. Whether it’s to their 2-year old toddler, chairman of the Board, middle-aged customer or life partner, they nail it every time.
The say what they mean and mean what they say.
Communication is the life-blood of any relationship, at work or home. Learning how to communicate well and effectively is a key competence in leadership and becomes more critical the further up the career path a leader climbs.
Daniel Goleman, 2014 (Emotional Intelligence)
The 7 key communication skills to be top of your relationship or career
- Active listening: This means keeping quiet and trying to listen with the purpose of truly understanding. Research says that 75% of our communication is body language, which means we need to learn to listen with our eyes and not only our ears.
- Empathy: The ability to truly put yourself in another person’s shoes. To appreciate how a situation may seem to them and how it might affect them.
- Assertiveness: The ability to be firm and fair, making your needs heard and feeling as if you are not being walked over. Assertiveness is not being aggressive nor passive, but merely standing your ground and calmly expressing your thoughts and needs.
- Open ended questions: Probably the most neglected and least understood of all the communication skills, but open-ended questions are those that show interest in the other person, help you gather important information and create rapport and a bond with another. An example is: ‘Tell me a little more about your background and the sort of career you would like to have?’
- Humour: A wonderful mood lightener, humour has a huge role to play in communication and relationships. It gives people the opportunity to laugh and enjoy a joke between each other, enhancing their bond.
A key tip: Never make jokes at the expense of others because when it backfires, it can result in resentment and anger.
- Summarise: In our discussions, when we summarise what the other person has said, not only do we check our understanding of their message, but we also show them that their message is valuable enough for us to listen to.
The subject of so much research, body language tells us much more than what somebody is saying. Slumped shoulders, crossed arms, looking dejected with downcast eyes – these are all signs that tell us how somebody is feeling even without them saying anything.
Effective communication skills and being an effective communicator means we need to learn how to read bodies more than listen to words. Bodies tell us more than tongues do and, if you are a leader in charge of many people, our advice is to get good at it – really good.
Using these skills in all situations
In conflict, in business, in your personal and professional relationships, these are the key skills you need to use to communicate well.
It does take practice. A good example is presentation skills. Most people dread three things: death, taxes and presenting in public.
Like most skills it takes time to perfect, but, with the right coaching and training, you can learn to be effective and good at it.
In leadership, the ability to be a top orator and deliver a speech without stumbling and stuttering is the difference between motivating the troops or putting them off.
We’re here to help.
Pure Magic International Business Solutions is an award-winning company, passionate about helping clients achieve strategic business outcomes through leadership, management and people development strategies and techniques at all levels and by using a range of easy-to-implement HR and Organisational development strategies.
To find out more, head to www.puremagicbusiness.com.au.
If you have ideas or concerns about your Organisation that you would like to discuss, why not book a free session with us via https://my.timetrade.com/book/QGY21 today?