“Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you know.”
Think communication and we think relationships and within a corporate environment, communication is obviously the key to every aspect of what we do.
In addition key stakeholders buy, collaborate or are influenced by us,only if they are comfortable with the way we come across personally and professionally.
And in an age of organisational diversity and product parity, no one needs to endure excessive tension in professional relationships.
However, ask employees about the challenges they face in their workplace and most often communication issues are right up there, close to the top of the list.
In many instances, communication is seen from the communicators perspective, but what about the perspective of the listener?
The listeners’ needs and frame of reference also need to form part of the interpreted message if we are to better understand how and why people respond as they do.
It is from this perspective that we need to consider that effective communication is 20% what we know and 80% how we feel about what we know.
Many communicators believe they are using the “communicate for action” style when in reality they are merely giving a “convincing” or “informing” message which results in a disconnect between themselves and the people they are speaking with. Avoid this disconnect and miscommunication by determining what you want from your listener, their desired response and apply these three steps as a start to more effective and engaging communication.
The spoken word belongs half to him who speaks and half to him who listens
Telling versus communicating: When telling, the others perspective is ignored and this more often than not, leads to disengagement, limited interest, desire and commitment, usually with unsatisfactory outcomes. To avoid disengagement, consider the response before presenting the message. Messages need to be positioned within the context of how the outcomes can benefit the listener rather than yourself.
Communicate meaning don’t just talk
Understand the listener’s perspective: In order to present the messages in a way that will encourage listeners to engage and interact, provide relevant background and define the desired action by emphasising the benefit for the listener thus facilitating the engagement process.
Provide message context and purpose
Importance of message consistency: Always present a perspective on why the communication is important. Be clear on the action desired while plainly stating the benefit of taking the suggested action with every message. Implementing this will clear up miscommunication, allowing others to understand what action is needed and why it is important. When communicating effectively, we must accept that we all have different ways in which we perceive the world, use this understanding as a guide to how best to communicate, engage and interact with others.
Employees with effective engagement skills are better equipped to listen actively and understand and learn from others, navigate conflict and influence others, achieve individual and team goals, demonstrate flexibility in adapting to the interpersonal styles of others and connect with people of different cultures. To get ahead it helps to get along, and the underpinning of getting along and building strong relationships, is engaging communication.
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