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Do you ever wonder why your staff didn’t “get the message”?
Communication is not easy. There are 5 keys to successful communication – they all have to be effective for your people to “get the message”.
Strong Self-concept – The most important key for effective communication is a strong self-concept – how you see yourself and your experiences. Your self-concept is the filter through which you see the world. Your self-concept colors your perception.
If you have a strong self-concept then your communication is clearer. A weak self-concept distorts your perception of how others see you. Problems associated with a weak self-concept include difficulties communicating with others, admitting mistakes, accepting critical feedback, expressing feelings and sharing contractor beliefs.
Active Listening – Listening is not a passive activity. Active listening occurs when you listen to the words, emotions and values – all at the same time. Remember to avoid judging while listening and limit your distractions.
Active listening techniques are paying attention to verbal and non-verbal cues, clarifying, summarizing, paraphrasing, reflecting feelings, uncovering values, balancing asking questions & advocating, and using appropriate non-verbal cues like eye contact, nodding & leaning forward.
Clarity of Expression – It is difficult to express fully what you want to say. It is often clearer in your mind than what comes out in words. You assume that if it’s clear to you then it should be clear to the listener. Wrong! Don’t leave the other person guessing what you are trying to say.
An effective communicator has a clear picture of what they want to say and uses both clarification and collaboration to get the full idea across. If you want to be an effective communicator then you’ll be open to feedback from your listeners.
Effective Coping with Emotions – Your inability to manage feelings, especially anger, hinders communication. Suppression of feelings leads to ulcers and/or explosive behavior. Learning to constructively express emotions is the most effective way to cope with emotions.
To express emotions you must be aware of the emotions and acknowledge them.
Self-disclosure – The more I know about you and the more you know about me increases the likelihood of effective communication. Fears that others may not like you if they really knew you is the largest barrier to self-disclosure.
To increase self-disclosure create an environment of trust in which mutual self-disclosure can occur.
If you want to be a more effective communicator, work on the 5 keys described above. If you want to talk more about communication, contact me at Valerie.MacLeod@HainesCentre.com
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