Communication – The Lost Art
Now with all the electronic gadgets taking up our time and distracting us we need to give more effort communicating with one another for our communications to be effective. Texting, e-mailing, and other forms of electronic communication have transformed how we communicate, making our communicating less personal. Yet, on average we spend 70 to 80 percent of our time communicating (http://extension.missouri.edu/p/CM150). Following are some thoughts on how we can get the most out of communicating with others.
- Know your audience. Make sure you have their attention, that they are listening and not distracted; communicate in a format that is friendly to them – using texting or e-mailing in place of face to face contact might work better with certain age groups; use words that are mutually understandable; choose your words wisely, make sure the industry jargon you use is understood by the other person. Something to think about – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nancy-colier/communication-tips_b_3856199.html
- Talking isn’t communicating. Communicating is all about interacting with another person. Make sure you are interacting with the other person. Talk, but take time to listen. Look for the message the other person is trying to deliver to you as well. Remember, communication is a two way street. Cues to look for – http://www.helpguide.org/mental/eq6_nonverbal_communication.htm
- Make sure there is a meeting of the minds. The same words mean different things to different people. Make sure you are both on the same page. A good article on this is at http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2010/03/09/the-hardest-part-of-communications-literal-thinkers-vs-abstract-thinkers/ .
- Defining expectations is important. Determine in advance what you are expecting to happen with the communication. Is the communication intended to be personal or business related? Are you just expressing your opinion? Do you want someone to take action? Are you looking for information? If the communication is beyond a personal conversation you may want to plan and outline the communication in advance.
- Simple steps to communicating. A Simple rule of thumb for any communication is – tell people what you will tell them; tell them; tell them what you told them. Make sure to state your ideas concisely; get a verbal response to resolve any misconceptions; make sure you’ve reached a mutual understanding; and always be willing to follow up and clarify as needed.
Not everyone communicates in the same way you do. In order to communicate effectively you need to meet people on their terms – communicate with them in their favorite mode of communication as much as possible. You may not think of communication as an art, but next time before you communicate with someone, take an extra moment and think about how you actually will do it. Communication is all about mutual interaction and understanding.
Next Up – Discussing difficult topics.