Communication is such an important necessity, and it is the key ingredient to effective results in most circumstances. In a world where communicating is easier than ever it astounds me that there are still people who do not communicate effectively. Here is a list of better ways to communicate that will help when negotiating, executing a task, delegating, or just about any other situation.
1. Listen. Listening is first because it is vital to understand the other person’s point of view. You may not agree with it and it may sound out of the ballpark at times, but it is imperative that you listen first. Many people are so fiercely grounded in their own opinions that they do not take the time to realize that others may feel differently. If you can listen earnestly–without being judgmental–before opining, you may come to learn a lot about the other person AND you may even see a way to compromise based on what he or she is saying.
2. Be Honest. This of course is crucial, and not only in times of disagreement. Honesty not only is a moral quality that is valued, but also says a lot about your character. If you are honest others will know that, and you will have a reputation for being honest. No matter that you may be dealing with those who are not honest, stick to your guns and don’t be afraid to be honest.
3. Share. Much like listening, sharing your side allows you to communicate effectively with the other party, and allows them to listen. Voicing concerns, fears and relevant facts help both parties to try and understand the other side.
4. Stay Calm. Staying calm when you are facing a conflict is also important to successful resolution. Even though you may not like what the other person is saying if you lose your cool it just creates frustration and a lack of respect from the person with whom you are trying to communicate. Sometimes you just have to tell the other person that you need to take a break, but don’t yell and act like a child!
5. Show Respect. For those of you who read my blog you know the importance I place on respect. It is in my opinion the most important value. When you are in disagreement or negotiations, when you are trying to figure out how to solve a problem, if you do not show respect for another person with a different view chances are things will not get accomplished; even if you do come to a conclusion a lack of respect can end the relationship on bad terms. Listening and respect go hand in hand.
Remember that many failures can be attributed to poor communication. Armies have perished because they did not know from where the enemy was attacking. Marriages have broken up because the couple didn’t communicate with each other. Deadlines are missed because of poor communication. Wars have been waged because of misunderstandings due to failed communication (and lack of respect and tolerance of other viewpoints and beliefs). Communication skills can be challenging, so if you need to brush up remember the five points above. The more we try to be better communicators, the better off we are.