There are some basics about communicating that can make your communications more effective and are worth revisiting. GO!
Communicating with another person or people should be easy. We’ve been doing it for thousands of years. But it isn’t. The key to remember – it should be two way. GO!
When you’re talking to someone, are you hearing what they say (vaguely) or really listening to them? GO!
Why do we often fail to be understood? Even when we think we have expressed ourselves really clearly. It’s a question of style! GO!
There are systems which take communication to the next level – we don’t intend to cover this in detail here, but if you’re interested in having a quick look, … GO!
If you’re a visitor to our site you can join and download information, assess your own health and create your own action plans, and even contribute to our site. GO!
Some Initial Thoughts
Important in relationships
In work relationships and family relationships personality and communications come high on the list of what cause breakdowns. It’s her/his/their personality - she/he/they are so hot-headed they only half-listen to what you have to say and then they respond with the first thing that comes into her/his/their head, full of emotion and lacking in clarity.
We also consider group communications
Communication is not just about having a conversation - it's much more than that. In CommunicationDrive we focus on personal communication in the main but provide a section on speaking in groups.
This is a HUGE subject which we’ve broken down into sections which you can visit
Facts About Communication
in a survey in 2012 30% preferred face to face communication -in 2020 it had dropped to 30% with text and social media taking over
40% teenagers had smatrtphones in 2012 – it’s 92% in 2020
75% teenagers used facebook in 2012 – it’s less than 15% in 2020
in England reporting difficulty in finding employees with an appropriate level of oral communication skills.
Humans have been communicating since caveman days. Some would say communication hasn’t got much better since then! Back then there was a basic structure but without having complex lives. Today the basic structure is still there but humans have much more complex brains and lives.
It seems to be a given that humans can communicate but that is just not the case. We also do not have specific training at school or university regarding communication, it’s merely a by-product in that we need to communicate our subject matter. There is no formal training. In recent times organisations are sending their potential managers on courses for communication, and communication is often on a competency-based interview.
So why are some so good and some so bad? Well, it’s all down to personality, character, social background and upbringing. There may be genuine mental health issues causing a person to have difficulty expressing themselves but generally it’s the personality etc.
We may have come from a household that is reserved or loud and boisterous. Either group could under- or over-communicate. With training and guidance, you can learn not only to communicate effectively but also learn better ways to get your message across that you previously hadn’t thought of. These include the ability to talk and give out a clear message and the ability to understand the recipient of the message and do they understand it.
There are also prejudices people may hold that will stop them from receiving and understanding your message, even though it’s right and good. These include racism, ageism, sexism, they may just hate you, they don’t trust you, they are from a different class.
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Communicating in dialogue and conversation
Communication is the backbone of our society without it things would collapse in chaos. However, often there are real issues in communications. Simply, these can be two-fold: what you're communicating and how you do it, and the way this is received.It's worth looking at each of these aspects ina bit more detail.
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Active listening is as important as talking
Big talkers are often not good listeners. Sometimes it’s due to personality and character, other times it’s because someone is not a competent communicator. Good listening skills are as important as talking. Making sure that the conversation flows is so important, having a balanced chat and allowing each person to express themselves is a skill in itself. We take talking and communicating for granted therefore we don’t think of preparing in advance, as you would for a meeting. But it is worth learning to stop yourself and learn some simple techniques.
Here are a few tips:
• Listen because you’re interested. When you listen with the intention to understand, you listen with an open mind.
• Try not to interrupt especially in the middle of the other person’s point.
• Give yourself time to process what you’ve heard. You cannot listen and be prepping your reply at the same time, so wait.
• Repeat back and clarify what someone is saying.
• Try to focus on the conversation and limit distractions, put your phone to one side
• Maintain good eye contact.
• Use your body language to show you are listening. Lean in to the conversation.
• Get curious, by asking more questions
. • Put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
• Try not to over trump someone else’s story. Once is ok, twice is acceptable, but never constantly trying to out tell a story bigger, better, stronger.
Why are we misunderstood?
We often fail at communication because we don’t put the effort in to having a conversation. Humans talk without thinking sometimes, it’s basic instinct.
Personality, Character, Attitude, Style, Approach, Culture, Race, can all impact and have an effect on communication style. People might be brilliant communicators in terms or oral presentation but if the recipient of the message doesn’t like your style or approach they won’t listen.‘Chalk and Cheese’ as the saying goes; the lively , dynamic, vibrant fast talking clear communicator will be ineffective in a group of accountants, who will switch off. The same stereo types would apply to a room full of sales people been addressed by an Actuary wishing to talk stats. These are simple examples but it’s not just about what we say, it’s how we say it and the approach we take.
Take our communication style questionnaire and see how you get on.
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Communication - Advanced
Do consultancies and high level sales organisations offer special training in communications?
Of course they do. When the value of a sale is in the millions, it is worthwhile giving the people responsible for completing these sales every possible advantage. That includes in-depth training in every aspect of communicating and selling.
This includes all the basic information you've seen so far in terms of communications, and also the ability to understand the different personalities involved in the process. Not only to understand them ,but to know the best way not only to communicate with them but the best way to influence them. A well known phrase in this world is:
Communicating without a desired outcome is like travelling without a destination.
Knowing the outcome is important and keeps focus on what to say, what to look for after it's been said and what to change as conversations develop. In this world, continued resistance to the message being put out is a comment on the presenter, not the person responding. It is seen as showing a lack of flexibility.
Neurolinguistic Programming or NLP
Technically Neurolinguistic Programming is a model of communication that focuses on identifying and using patterns in the thought processes that influence people's verbal and non-verbal behaviour as a means of improving the quality and effectiveness of their communication.
There is a huge body of work in this area. Simply, NLP tries to detect and modify people's unconscious 'map of the world'. Yes, that's right, it said 'modify'. Isn't that a bit like hypnosis or brainwashing - not really, as it's just better communication through use of language and sensory systems (hearing, visual, etc), but it is aimed at changing someone’s thoughts and behaviours to help achieve desired outcomes for them.
Possibly the best way to consider it is to think of it as understanding people (much) better. In one way It is easier to communicate with those people that are like us. The ability to influence those who are not like us is the difference that makes the difference.
We don't propose to cover this in any detail here but there will be an expert who help if you're interested.
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How to improve your communication skills
Improve your communications skills
Linda Raynor explains 4 steps to improve your communications skills
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