Communication is the process by which we exchange information between individuals or groups of people. It’s a process where we try—as clearly and accurately as we can—to convey our thoughts, intentions, and objectives.
In our business, we’re communicating with people all day, every day – talking with fellow employees, customers, vendors, and so on. So, it’s necessary to continually work on your skills as a communicator to maximize your effectiveness—because it will directly impact your success!
The key to communication, whether in a one-on-one situation or conversing with a group, is to remember that you’re only considered successful if the receiver understands the information you, the sender, is attempting to share…
Your first objective as a communicator is to earn the trust of the people listening to you. Some people naturally distrust other people because they don’t know what the other person is thinking. The sooner you get to the point, the sooner you can establish trust with that person. Be cordial and ethical and hope that your professionalism and consistency will win them over.
Speak clearly and concisely—and know what you are going to say. Understand the purpose and intent of your message; plus know who you are communicating with and why. Consider barriers that you may encounter such a cultural differences, gender, age, or economic issues. Know what outcome you are attempting to achieve and the impression you want to leave.
Many times, it’s not what you say, but how you say it! The tone and inflection in your voice is a huge part of the message. Think about speaking to a child or even your dog; they probably don’t understand what you are saying, but the tone and the volume makes the difference. Have a non-adversarial tone and a softness in your voice. The volume should be loud enough to hear well, but not too loud. When the listener does not understand the point, the speaker has a tendency to speak louder as if that will make a difference. So, don’t do that.
Are you making eye contact? If a person can look you in the eyes it inspires trust and confidence; plus you are more aware if that person is intently listening to what you are saying.
Are you standing straight? Are your arms by your sides? Just the position of your arms says a lot to your listener. Being hunched over with your arms crossed suggests disinterest or an unwillingness to communicate. Good posture and an approachable stance make even difficult communication flow more smoothly.
After you have said what you are going to say, stop, listen and look for feedback and clues of comprehension. Assuming that others understand what you are saying—or that they think the same way you do—can be a huge mistake. Never assume! The fact of the matter is, most people do not see things the way you do; nor do they have the same feelings as you.
After making a point, ask open ended questions to see if they have an understanding of what you just told them. While the person is responding, avoid the impulse to cut them off or listen to the end of the sentence just so you can blurt out more ideas and thoughts. Have some respect for the listener and give them your full attention. When they’re finished, ask open ended questions and encourage discussion.
Do you want to be a better communicator? Obtain a better command of the language by reading more, writing more, and looking up words you are not familiar with. Practice your listening skills. Wait until people are done before expressing your views. Learn to appreciate opposing points of view by being more open-minded. Also, try to never communicate in an emotional state. You lose objectivity and may say something inappropriate or regrettable. Engage your brain and think first… before putting mouth in gear and saying something your may regret for years. You will find that the more successful you are as a communicator, the more successful you will become.
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The Plumbers Coach™ Detailed personalized business coaching for plumbing contractors. Like us on Facebook @The Plumbers Coach, follow us on Twitter @T_PlumbersCoach, and on LinkedIn @KeithGlass15.