EFFECTIVE COMMUNICTION – A TWO WAY STREET
Take a moment or two if you will and think about what the world would be like without communication. You have a brilliant idea, but no means to share it, a strong desire for something, yet no way to express it. Everything would be a struggle if we were to live without communication, especially in today’s world.
Communication is the essence of life and it is at the core of everything that we do. As a new born, we come in the world – kicking and screaming – that is communication. As we get older, we are able to express ourselves to the point that even our body posture becomes a means of communication. Our posture projects what we are feeling and what others are thinking about us and what we have to say.
Communication is one of the most underestimated skills in our business, big or small. And while it’s assumed that everyone is able to communicate to some extent, those that do it more effectively tend to be more likely to succeed.
Think about it. Communication is the common thread that runs through every part of your business — pitching investors and getting capital, hiring and managing your team, promoting your products or services, providing exceptional customer service, etc. If there is one skill we can all benefit from improving, it’s communication.
Too Much Noise
Various things can stop a message from getting through or being heard. These include poor connection, background noise, distractions, or too many people speaking at the same time. If people receive conflicting or inconsistent messages then they may ignore or block them out completely. Too much information can also cause problems.
Long and Winding Road
Blogs, tweets, facebook posts, live chats – we are living in a society that is changing by the nano second. News and information at our fingertips – that’s how much information we want and need in a relatively short time. Anything beyond the expected time frame will be deemed as bad service, being unprofessional or ineffective. Communication today is not like the old days where you send something and wait three days (the expected time) to receive a response or feedback. We simply cannot afford to disseminate information that’s too long or long-winded in today’s time sensitive world! So you need to just cut to the chase – keep it sharp, concise and clear. Or the message gets lost in translation.
Bad Body Language
Just as we speak, it is equally good to listen. Sometimes we tend to blabber on and on without realizing that the recipient has already lapsed into a coma! Human memory cannot function beyond certain limits. When one has too much on their minds or are uninterested in the content of the message, they will automatically switch off. Speaking and bringing across your message in a captivating manner is more likely to engage the recipient. Do make it a point to pause and gauge a response, either verbal or non verbal from the recipient before continuing on.
Effective Communication – A Two Way Street
To prevent misunderstandings, it is important to invest in good communication skills. Miscommunication happens whenever there is a differing understanding or views about certain issues.
As Tony Robbins puts it, “To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.”
Some may think communication comes easy. However, for effective communication, it takes more effort than just speaking from one party and listening from the other. It involves conveying and bringing a message across effectively AND with mutual understanding. It is about putting both speaking and listening together, with both parties having the same understanding.
After all that is said, the bottom line of effective communication is about engaging both the speaker and receiver. It takes both to achieve the goal of communication – to fully understand and connect with one another so that the desired message is finally brought across in the exact meaning it was intended for.
Ultimately, effective communication can be one of the most important skills you use in your business. If your communication skills can use some fine-tuning, take time to analyze how you communicate, and the results of your communication. Then focus on ways you can improve it over time. You may be surprised how much that changes your relationships with staff, clients and colleagues for the better.
By Serene Deng, PR Associate @ Corporate Media Services