Did you know that the first week of November was World Communication Week? We did and to celebrate we spoke to communication consultant Jamie Walters, founder of Ivy Sea and author of Big Vision, Small Business about communication; the good, the bad, and everything else in between.
So what does good, effective communication look and sound like?
“At its simplest, good communication is about effectively and respectfully communicating information that someone else, or others, need in order to contribute more fully and participate more consciously and skillfully,” Walters said.
The important skills that one needs to tap into include empathy, asking good questions, listening, and observing.
Research has shown that good communication in the workplace can have a positive effect on overall employee performance and production, which is music to any manager’s ears.
“It really helps, because the research also consistently shows that communication gaffes are costly in both human ways and in dollars,” Walters said.
In her years of consulting, Walters said one of the biggest mistakes people can make is making assumptions because not everyone thinks as we do.
“The other thing I’ve seen a lot over the years of consulting on communication is the lack of awareness of what our assumptions and ‘triggers’ are, as well as increasing emphasis on ‘urgency’ and people being over-scheduled, preoccupied, and rushing from one thing to another,” Walters said.
But in the fast-paced, cutthroat world we live in, especially when it comes to business, how can we communicate effectively and get the job done?
Neuroscience researchers say that slowing down, pausing and taking a breath is vital to good communication and allows the individual to listen to the responses and really build on that solid foundation.
If you are looking to improve your communication skills, Walters said to begin is as simple as making yourself a promise to do so.
Author Kevin Daum wrote in a 2013 inc.com article that there are some quick and easy ways to improve your communication skills.
He said looking people in the eye and not multitasking are two of his top suggestions for being a better communicator. Looking people in the eye when you are talking to them conveys truth and honesty and not multitasking ensures that you are giving your undivided attention to the person you are conversing with.
Making small changes like that can lead to a happier workplace and ultimately a happier life.
“Step by step, practice by practice, and we look back suddenly and realize we’ve improved dramatically, and can see the positive difference it’s made,” Walters said.
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