Communication is as vital to our health & well-being as food and shelter is, yet not many of us actively work at improving our individual communication styles. Most of us don’t give it much thought and believe we’re doing a pretty good job. Think about how much of your life you spend communicating. We talk, we listen, we watch, we exchange – all important forms of communication.
Let’s face it, we all know someone who is a born communicator – this is the person we enjoy talking to and spending time with because they listen to what we have to say and they value how we feel.
On the other hand, we also know someone who communicates really badly. This is the person who never shuts up, who thinks that everything they have to say is right and who never actually listens to anything we have to say, assuming that we actually manage to get a word in whilst they’re pausing for breath. These are the people that we avoid or try not to spend too much time with.
On a daily basis we all talk to numerous people from family members, partners and work colleagues to people we meet as we go about our lives. Even the most reclusive person will still need to use some form of communication to get by in life.
Did you know that studies show that the message we send is 7% the words we choose, 38% the tone we use and a whopping 55% is a result of our body language and non–verbal messages. So even if you struggle to find the right words both on paper and in person, you too can be a powerful communicator.
Good communication is the key to strong and healthy relationships at work and at home, so how can you ensure you’re getting it right?
1) Everyone has something to say – so value others opinions, even if you don’t necessarily agree with them.
2) Don’t think you know everything, we can all learn from other peoples experiences.
3) Show interest in what others are saying, listen to what others have to say and don’t just wait for your chance to speak.
4) Be aware of how people respond to what you say, have they received the message in the way you intended.
I read a fantastic analogy of communication today which said that we should think of our message as a gift which we are giving to someone else. It’s not just the giving but also thinking about how that person will feel when they ‘unwrap’ that gift and how it will make them feel.
It all comes back to one thing – it’s not necessarily what you say, but how you package it up and deliver it.
'To effectively communicate, we must realise that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others' ~ Anthony Robbins