So, this week we’re back on the topic of communication. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself, “What is communication really?”
Looking at the etymology of the word, communion means ‘one mind’ and the ‘ion’ means ‘state of’. Therefore, communication is the process of thought transference from one mind to another. If the message doesn’t get across, then communication really has not taken place.
Great leaders and managers understand the concept of, ‘True communication is the response you get.’ What this means is that to be an effective communicator, you need to
- judge the impact of your communication on others
- and the response that comes back.
Where many people fall down is they judge themselves by the intention behind their communication rather than the impact that it has. Ie. The right message crafted in the wrong way will invariably upset the receiving party.
So, how can we prevent this miscommunication from happening?
Firstly, understand that in order for communication to occur between two people, first there must be a level of rapport. Rapport can be defined as a feeling of trust and understanding. Building rapport with another person is building a bridge that allows communication to take place. If you’ve ever heard the phrase, ‘More haste, less speed’ then you already understand the concept. When communication is rushed, it often fails. When you invest some time up front to build rapport, the person you are communicating with becomes more open to your message.
Secondly, understand that what is most important to you is probably not what is important to the person you are communicating with. When you frame your communications in terms of your values, others are less likely to understand and act on them in a meaningful way. When you frame the communication in terms of the person you are communicating with, they will immediately become more engaged and the quality of the communication and result will dramatically improve. This is called ‘values based communication.’
As an example, consider the following two communications from a manager to one of their team members.
“Jane, it is unacceptable that you have failed to turn in your management report on-time this month. I need it by Monday latest.”
“Jane, I know you’ve been working hard. I really appreciate what you are doing. As your manager, I can’t help you to work smarter if you don’t submit your reports on-time and I really want to support you. Would you be able to get it to me by Monday please?”
Think about the way Jane would be feeling after the first communication vs the second communication. Think about the level of rapport and trust that would result from each communication also. As Maya Angelou was quoted as saying — ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’
Are you as a manager making your team feel valued, inspired and part of a purpose greater than themselves? When you learn how to do this, performance improves, morale improves and results follow. The team only ever rises to the level of the leader. If you are interested in lifting your communication skills, be sure to check out our Power Communication Breakthrough training course.