Think Twice before you speak because words carry a lot of power and will plant and influence the seed of success or failure or hurt and anger in the mind of another.
Communication is an essential ingredient in any relationship. Communication involves interest, curiosity, enthusiasm, support, values, needs, aspirations, problems and solutions.
We live in an age where we spend more time on Facebook, Twitter and other forms of Social Media and don’t even make eye contact while talking face to face with a person sitting across us because the so-called conversing on social media is more important. We are in an age where we have conquered the highest of mountains but have to master ourselves. We have fuller minds but emptier lives.
We believe in answering a ‘How Are You’ with ‘I am Busy’. We have become more of A ‘Human Doing’ than being A ‘Human Being’.
In spite of more modes of communication we find interpersonal communication a tricky thing to manage.
So how can we improve the lives around us? By communicating better, from the heart and making a connection with the other, by empathizing, by trusting and listening.
1. Recognition – One of the insatiable needs of every human being is to be recognized, appreciated and cherished and made to feel that They Matter. No matter who you are and how wealthy or famous you may be, to convey that you appreciate the other person’s perspective and acknowledge the worthiness of the other person by valuing their issues and feelings is imperative. Day-to-day it is important to show appreciation for the efforts and actions of people with whom you are in touch with at work or in daily life. The tone used cannot be condescending and there should be sincerity in the way it is communicated.
Lolly Daskal (@lollydaskal) conducts a #leadfromwithin chat session every Tuesday at 8pm EST. What I like most about this chat is the genuineness with which Lolly recognizes each of the participants, either by RT what they have said or thanking them. Actions speak louder than words and she is a living example of what she believes in and professes.
2. Cross Cultural Communication – for those who live in cosmopolitan cities or work in multinational organizations we meet and interact with people from cross cultures. Inability to recognize the cross cultural traits will result in ‘Lost In Translation’. Many a message may be distorted through the communication process, such that even an intended compliment might even turn into an unintentional insult.
Some examples that I have heard, seen or read
* A British boy studying the language in Germany was riding the school bus home. As it was summer the bus became really hot. In a typically British way of asking for the window to be opened he implied it rather that clearly stated it so asked the boy next to him, ‘Bist du heiss?’ (Are you hot?). The boy turned and looked with a startled expression. All the other passengers started to giggle. In the end someone explained he had asked his fellow passenger if he ‘felt hot’ – i.e. was feeling passionate.
* A friend of mine had just opened his restaurant and being a chef himself, he had cooked a rather exquisite Duck dish as part of the main course of A Set Dinner menu. All his waiters were Chinese and when the dish was ready, he asked his waiters to serve the respective tables. However soon after he had this dish returned by every table. He was rather dumbstruck only to realize soon that the way the waiters had pronounced Duck sounded like Dog.
* In Asia, it is quite common to hear people saying you are very hardworking and it is meant to be a compliment. However when a European friend of mine had just moved to Asia she was very hurt when someone remarked ‘Jenn you are very hardworking’, I later learnt that hardworking meant – ‘habitually working diligently and for long hours’. Though diligently is a compliment, working long hours may not necessarily be taken as a compliment by all since it may indicate inefficiency.
It is important to present your message in a hopeful, non-judgemental, open-ended way and point to common-ground and away from differences
3. Distancing in relationships – Communication can make or mar relationships. The little space we allow and create in relationships prevents excessive familiarity and allows breathing room within the relationship.
I enjoy meeting people from different walks of life, making new friends and cherishing old ones. I connect with people, friends, colleagues, family, with enthusiasm, trust and affection. A lot of my relationships have changed my perspective to life, and many others have inspired me to approach life with a different twist.
Each of our relationships go through highs and lows. Communication here is not about talking all the time. It is important to give and it is equally important to know when to pull back, be it between spouses, friends, parents or in any other relationship.
Giving space in a relationship is important to nurture relationships. In my experience, the other person actually seeks you out if he or she really cares and it is important to let yourself be missed and to miss.
Space sometimes creates a vacuum in life. It’s when relationships cross the realm of this vacuum that they fuse back together.
4. Paraphrasing – In formal communications especially in meetings or presentations, it is important to make the content interesting and riveting. Your clarity will help you stay on track and also keep your audience’s attention. Also, decide on only one point to convey. If you try to cram in several points or messages, you run the risk of over complicating your story and diluting its power.
I was having a chat with a friend of mine yesterday on Twitter and she made a very apt comment on the art of communication ” Bad Communication makes minutes seem like ages.”
Paraphrasing in meetings or in a conversation helps
– to show the other person you have been listening to what they are saying
– to check meaning and interpretation
5. Non verbal communication – to be aware of how your own non verbal behaviors like body language, eye expression or facial expressions may impact or facilitate the communication. It is necessary to
– be aware of the message your body language can convey
– have an open posture
– match eye contact. I find people who don’t make eye contact whilst talking to me very offensive and as if they are trying to hide facts.
– match pacing, use silence
In conclusion, Effective communication skills are a function of our interpersonal effectiveness. Some of these interpersonal skills include Authenticity, Empathy, Unconditional support, Insight (perceive, understand and relate), curiosity, Listening, courage and willingness to offer feedback, ability to confront others without insulting.
What do you think. Are there any essential elements of communication that you would like to add ? Please share in the comments box. Thank you.