We all know that communication skills are important. Why is it so few people and organizations communicate well?
Read a legal document. Most of the time they make little sense. Writing something in plain English seems to be past the ability of many attorneys. It’s not that attorneys are alone in unclear communication. This seems to be a problem that many professionals have.
The result of clouded or un-clear communication is that we don’t understand each other. If communication means we are able to convey an idea to someone else, then we need clarity when we communicate.
I think it’s important that we develop great communication skills. Here are some places to start:
Start with keeping your commitments. I believe the first step in great communications is that we keep our commitments. If we say we’re going to do something, then we need to do it. If we can’t do it on time or in a manner that we promised, it’s our job to let others know about the changes we need to make.
Listen before speaking. It seems that many of us are more interested in getting our opinion on the table than understand what’s important. One of my favorite sayings is that we have two ears and one mouth. We should at least listen in the proportion that we have ears and a mouth.
Ask what and why more often. Instead of going right to coming up with a solution, first help the people we’re talking with understand what it is that they want to do and why they want to do it. Understanding how important what and why is will make us better communicators.
Have a jargon free zone. All specialties have lots of jargon. If we can manage to stay away from using jargon we will communicate with others in a manner they understand. I hate it when others use jargon with me. It often makes me feel that they feel superior to me.
Remember the meaning of our communication is the way it’s received. How many times have you heard someone say, “well I told them”? It doesn’t matter what you think you said it only matters what the person you’re speaking with heard. If you check in to make sure you both are talking about the same thing you will improve your communications.
What are your ideas on how to communicate better? Is being a better communicator something you believe is important?
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