Communication: an essential yet often under-evaluated part of our working lives. Most of us deem “good communication skills” as one of the best buzz-terms to write on an application form or to declare during a job interview, but how well do we really know our own styles of interaction and why is this knowledge so important?
Below are three surprising facts about communication that may just get you thinking in a whole new perspective and boosting the productivity of your business.
1: Effective Communication is Bloomin’ Difficult
If good communication was easy, then many of the disagreements, arguments and friction that occur because of miscommunication wouldn’t exist.
We all understand that we have successful communications with some people and fail with others. Research, which began in the 1940s and continues today, has tried to provide clarity and structure about the ways in which human communications occur and what blocks the effectiveness of what should be a simple interaction.
Think about your own communication preferences. If someone asks you “How was your day?” would you respond with a detailed account of what’s happened in your life over the past 12 hours or would you reply with a simple summary, such as, “It was fine.”?
Even clear-cut interactions are often not as simple as they may seem; and understanding communication styles and preferences is a way of building a mental map to guide you through the communications maze.
2: There’s a Strength-Weakness Paradox!
Good communication style models provide the structure for personal analysis and for feedback. The most widely used research findings link communication style with personality, using frameworks such as assertiveness and passivity and/or introversion and extroversion.
The key is to recognise that we all have behavioural preferences and we play to our strengths. Conversely, becoming ‘trapped’ by a particular preference means that our strengths actually limit our effectiveness. Someone who is seen as a “direct” communicator, for example, will often speak forcefully, be supportive of their view and be decisive. These strengths can create blind spots in terms of poor listening, becoming a victim of the “yes, but…” syndrome and creating workplace stress. So, using instrumentation to clarify communication style preferences provides a mirror to look in and potential alternative (but equally effective) communication behaviours and strategies.
3: Knowledge is Power
Self-awareness and knowledge are the fundamental building blocks for more effective communication. Once you recognise and understanding yourself in terms of your preferred communicative behaviour, you will gain an invaluable insight into your communication style.
You may discover that you have a consistent and fairly dominant communication style or you have several equally strong style preferences. And of course, with knowledge comes power; and in the world of communication, this power can bring success-boosting action. With the recognition and understanding you gain, you can use the same criteria, and communications style model, to understand others and to self-manage to increase your effectiveness. This might include disciplining yourself to ‘listen to understand’ rather than ‘listening to respond’. The self-talk that’s going on will give you a clue as to what you’re doing when communicating (if you’re forming a comment, mentally rehearsing it and can barely wait to the other person to shut up then effectively you have stopped ‘listening to understand’!). In other words, increased communications effectiveness is really improved personal effectiveness!
If you have any upcoming training sessions planned and you don’t already have a copy of What’s My Communication Style? , we seriously recommend that you add it to your supply kit! You can order as little or as many as you want and it’s almost guaranteed to make a significant difference to your training outcomes and supercharge your reputation!
Just one small action could make you the trainer who made the biggest difference.