The sixth principle of relationships is all about communication.
Good communication skills are essential. Without them, relationships cannot prosper.
For millions of years, humans lived like the animals, sheltering in caves, scratching out a basic existence in the forests and plains. Then we developed language. This made our thinking abilities soar and unleashed the power of our creative imagination. We learned to record ideas in written form and, equally important, learned to listen. No longer were we dependent on grunts and gestures to get our meaning across.
It’s no exaggeration to say that humankind’s greatest achievements have come about through talking and listening to each other, and it greatest failures by not talking and listening. We’re all inspired by the great communicators, which is why good communicators often become leaders. Improving your communication skills opens new doors to you, and brings confidence.
The best communicators know that it’s not about making yourself appear interesting, but showing the other person you are genuinely interested in them.
Miscommunication happens because each step in the communication process provides an opportunity for misinterpretation and misunderstanding.
Say you want to put an idea across to another person. First, you must put your idea into words, draw a picture or make a gesture. Words are limited tools which may not be adequate to express your true meaning.
The message must then be transmitted some sort of channel – face to face, by telephone, letter, text message, e-mail, and so on.
Others must then see, hear or read the words correctly and interpret them. Often there are barriers which interfere with reception, so they may only pick up a fraction of your intended meaning. They may be confused by your words, or even ignore part of your intended meaning. It’s no wonder that the message received is often different from the original idea!
Misunderstandings can be cleared up if you ask for feedback and discuss what you’ve said or heard, but more often than not time is limited and this doesn’t happen.
The starting point to improving your communication skills is to appraise yourself. Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the left, list your strengths as a communicator. On the right, list your weaknesses.
How can you build on your strengths? What do you need to do to eradicate your weaknesses? Can you make a start today?
Communication involves listening, self-expression, conversation skills, assertiveness and handling confrontation. All of these are essential for making the most of life.
Every ounce of energy invested in improving your communication skills will be repaid many times over and improve your relationships at every level!
©David Lawrence Preston, 4.8.2016
Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @David_L_Preston
How to Books, 2010