The definition of communication is: exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium.
We constantly exchange information and yet, communication is one of the most challenging area of our lives… Great leaders know how important it is to communicate the right way. That is why they are very often great communicators.
Whether we talk to our manager during a 1-on-1 meeting or are being interviewed for a job; whether we are trying to sell something to a customer or provide a project update to our stakeholders; whether we write a message to our spouse, friends or present in front of an audience, we all communicate with each other.
Communication is also present everywhere in our daily life. We are constantly bombarded with information on TV, newspapers, radio, podcast, etc.
Many conflicts are due to (poor) communication
But… Have you ever noticed that many conflicts we have are due to (poor) communication?
We all have been in one of these situations:
- We said something and our counterpart got angry because what we said did not come across as we intended.
- We were too direct asking/saying something to one of our team members and they took it personally.
- We were trying to explain a problem and the other person was not listening. Or we were the one not listening.
- Because we use English as the main business language in a multi-cultural world, we used a word or expression and our counterpart misunderstood because English is not their native language.
Whatever it is, communication can go wrong in so many ways.
The good news is that there are a lot of things we can do to improve communication.
Tips to improve communication
When you want to make sure your counterpart really understands what you’re trying to communicate, take a step back. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I communicating what I want to say the right way?
- Am I using the right media?
- Am I clear enough?
- Am I succinct enough?
- Am I using words or expressions that my counterpart can understand?
- Am I making assumptions in my counterpart’s knowledge?
- Am I giving enough time/space for the other person to react and/or ask questions?
- Have I tried to make a joke and it was not understood?
One of the best ways to improve your personal and professional relationships is to communicate properly and effectively.
Tony Robbins said it:
‘To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others’ .
In the following weeks, I’ll be providing more details on what you can do to effectively communicate with international audiences. Stay tuned!