What four letter words do we mean? Here are four:
Let’s look at ‘talk’ as an example. If I asked you, you could all talk about almost anything at a moment’s notice. In the computer in your brain, you have lots of programs–what you think, what you feel or believe about anything, even things you know absolutely nothing about! And you can go on and on about any topic. That is the good news.
However, the bad news is that this is what people call communication–and it’s only talk (or chat or blab, etc.).
Poor communication is the most frequently reported single major source of frustration in companies and in relationships today. What is communication? Simply, communication is threefold. It means that a message was sent, that it was received, and that it was understood.
Experts say that we spend approximately 80% of each day communicating, as follows:
38% tone of voice and
55 % physiology or body language
Since you are not always face to face with people, the first two are the most important. Your inflection and tone of voice are more impactful than your words. The positive and negative impressions of what you say, and how you say what you say, are more exaggerated. Therefore, you need to learn to control your tone, your tempo, and your volume.
Make no mistake, body language can be heard over the phone. Suppose you are slouching, I bet your voice is very different than when you are sitting up straight. Also, we all know that a smile can easily be heard over the phone.
The good news is that communication is a learned behavior. If you learned negative patterns, you can release them and replace them with positive ones.
To me communication and listening go hand in hand. We all think we know how to listen, don’t we? The fact is that very few people truly know how to listen. In our earnestness to serve we get pulled out of a conversation by preparing for the answer while the other person is still talking. We wait for a pause and when the person takes a breath, we jump in to take them where we think they want to go, or to improve or remedy the situation. The truth is if we’re not listening to what someone is saying we won’t even know the question or request, let alone the answer.
Our intentions are good. We want to give the best response we can, hopefully the right answer. However, if we’re not present to the conversation, the other person feels not heard, unimportant, ripped off and the like.
Listening is a respectful act. We have two ears and one mouth. Is this a coincidence? Is there a lesson here?
For those of you who do anagrams, rearrange the letters and get: Listen = silent.
While it is true you cannot control how another person speaks to you, you can control your own response to that person, and thereby greatly influence the course and outcome of any conversation.
The question I put to you is: Are you committed to being a great communicator?
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness concerning all acts of initiative and creation. There is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans; that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen events, meetings and material assistance which no one could have dreamed would have come their way.” W. H. Murray from The Scottish Himalayan Expedition
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