Most of us think that we know the theory of communication but sadly we don’t always use it, me included! So, my challenge to you today is to pause long enough to reassess your current communication skills and maybe to apply what you already know. One book I was reading by John Maxwell, (called 21 Indispensible Qualities of a Leader) suggested that to be an effective communicator you needed to embrace four basic truths:
- Simplify the content! In other words you need to be clear about what you are trying to say, and get rid of things that would confuse the basic message you are seeking to convey. Quit trying to impress them with your vocabulary.
- See the person! You need to recognise where your hearers are coming from. Do they have the background information they will need to interpret your message? Are they open and receptive or have you lost them? Look them in the eye and you will know.
- Show the truth! Is your message believable, or more particularly are you committed to what you are delivering? You may need to develop your credibility with the audience before they will accept what you are saying. Do you walk your talk?
- Seek a response! The goal of any communication is action, so make sure they know what you want them to do with what you have given them and when you expect that response. Be confident that they will respond.
We all may think that we are good communicators, able to inspire and motivate those around us, but maybe we are having ourselves on. If we are going to be successful wherever we are in the organisation, we need to continually hone our communication skills. But remember, the underlying fact is we need to be good listeners as well!
Chaplain Ian S Whitley