(Are you an effective communicator?)
Of all of the facets that go into making successful relationships, communications is probably the most important. No matter what relationship is considered, sales, personnel management, vendors, even family, and personal, etc., it is effective communication that leads to successful relationships.
When communicating with someone, the real key is to first understand them and “where they are coming from”. Only then, should you communicate your position or points. This is probably the hardest habit in effective communication to develop, but is imperative to master, if you are to be an effective communicator. It is natural for us to feel that the recipient must hear “our story” or point of view. We must develop the virtue of patience and be good listeners. In actuality, the one who does the most listening actually controls the conversation, and receives the most from it.
There must be an “exchange” of information. Only “talking” “doesn’t do it”, nor does just “hearing”. There must be a “back and forth” flow of information. This can be facilitated on your part by repeating what the other person has said. A by-product of this, is that the other person will feel validated in their conversation with you.
The information being communicated must be meaningful to the one receiving it. If the receiver is not interested in the information, it will “go in one ear and out the other”, or may never even go in one ear. Therefore it is vitally important that you observe their body language and eye contact with you.
Remember that hearing is not listening. Listening is key to effective communication, but comprehending is all important. Without comprehension, listening is only half of the communication process.
The information that is exchanged must be clear and complete. If it “sounds good”, but is not clear, it is not effective communication. It is important to realize that “clarity” is in the “eyes” (mind) of the listener. Therefore, it is important to ask the listener for feedback to be sure that you have communicated effectively.
Always get confirmation that the information or message you have given is understood. This is why teachers give exams. Questions must be asked around the points being communicated to determine that the listener comprehends the information correctly. They may not agree, but they must comprehend correctly.
There are multiple ways to communicate. The involvement of as many of the five senses (audio, visual, taste, kinesthetic, and smell) that you can. Interestingly, new grocery stores are now experimenting with sounds and smells in the various department of their stores. The senses beyond sight, and touch are obviously very important. People have individual dominant ways in which they communicate, and it is important to determine the recipient’s dominant communication senses. Be sure that the message is consistent in all of the ways that it is communicated.
When we master the art of effective communication, virtually every aspect of a quality relationship is enhanced, and our individual success in building quality relationships is assured.