Communicating encompasses far more that words between people. Whether in person, through email, over the phone, or even through text message; communication is the most widely used form of creating influence. It is also one of the most misunderstood. This week I want to share with you again how we can be better communicators through one of my podcasts, “Are You An Effective Communicator?” from January 23. Click here to go listen now. Most of us think we are communicating well but more often than not, we’re missing the mark.
As business professionals constantly striving to improve and grow, it is vital that we not only understand proper communication but that we implement it. It is not only where our growth will stem from but also where we will be able to help those we work with grow.
If you thought about and jotted down a few areas in your life you want to improve on, this is the area that should be at the top of your life. Why? Because EVERYTHING stems from effective communication. We aren’t just talking about communication with our coworkers either. Advancing yourself in your relationships, professional career, and even with your relationship with yourself--communication controls how you will choose to move forward in growth. And it also delineates the advancements that you make as a business professional.
Effective communication takes reflection and practice so that you can learn where you are being held back, how you can change, and how you will move forward. Communication improvement requires refinement and confidence.
What is your past history with communication? Think about it and write it down. Did you come from a house of yellers? Or of passive aggressive communicators? And are you continuing in that same approach now? Are you failing to communicate with your employees in as much detail and precision as you should be? Are you avoiding topics hoping they will just “get it”? Or maybe you are raising your voice at them more often than not. Evaluating and owning these qualities that encompass your communication will help you begin to connect the dots as to why you are the type of communicator that you are now.
Is the way you are communicating currently leading you to the results you ultimately want? Commit to improving yourself to improve your relationships.
Effectively communicating will guide you to being a strong influence. Remember, being an influence to others is a GOOD thing. It means you are leading by example and are inspiring others to grow themselves. And being a strong influence and leader will only create a stronger team.
Think about the hard communication scenarios. For example, talking to your boss about a disagreement or to an employee about a misstep; the topics that bring an uneasy feeling to your gut. These scenarios will test your levels of communication and when you face them, think about these tips (we dig into detail in the podcast).
Take time to reflect before you begin the conversation. How are you feeling about the upcoming conversation? Are you ready to be having it or do you need more time? Are you emotional about the topic or the person? Start to think about the different angles and different outcomes.
Be clear with the result you are working towards, and aim everything towards that result. Practice with your loved ones and ask them how your tone comes off. If they respond that your tone is positive and uplifting, great! If they tell you it comes off as a little insulting and demeaning, take that seriously and work on it. If you show up to a conversation with a negative tone, your conversation will be affected immediately. This all being said, it is perfectly fine to be angry and communicate that anger, but you are in control with how the tone is presented. Mastering communication means you are in conscious choice with each move you make.
Don’t be sucked in expectation, nor attachment to the outcome. Communication is messy and everyone is coming at it from a different ideology and past. Your job is to relay the message in a way that is authentic, direct and is congruent with the result you would like to see happen. Pay attention to your body language. Show the person you are talking to that you are open and entirely present! Make the person you are talking to believe that you are paying attention to them as if they are the ONLY person in the room. Master the skill of giving your full presence and undivided attention. Leave them feeling validated.
You are the only person that can control you, your relationships, your professional career, and your results. In order to grow as a high performer, you have to master yourself.
To listen to and learn more about how to grow into a more effective communicator, click here to head to my episode, “How To Be an Effective Communicator” on my podcast, Change by Choice.