I am fascinated by how humans communicate. And how our modes and methods of communication have evolved and changed over time.
In my corporate life, I would work with teams and leaders to help them communicate better with one another. The aim was always to improve how people worked together, and communication was, and is, considered one of the key ingredients to make that happen.
Here are 9 simple truths about communication.
- We all communicate, whether we intend to or not. We can’t not communicate.
- How we communicate, and why, differs wildly from person to person.
- What I believe is great communication may not be so for you. It may be too much, too little, too often, not often enough, the wrong kind, too blunt, too direct, too soft, too loose, too roundabout, too hard. It’s amazing we ever communicate successfully, given all the things that can get in the way!
- Our behaviour is one of the clearest forms of communication we have at our disposal. We say things by our actions that we often would never say with words.
- When in doubt about what someone means, look at what they do vs. what they say. It’s like the song says “believe half of what you see, and none of what you hear”. Well – maybe that’s a bit extreme, but certainly if it’s ever a toss-up between what’s true – actions or words – choose actions every time. Actions lie less than words.
- You can improve your communication if you want to. Our communication styles and the quality of our communication are not permanently fixed.
- Awareness precedes choose when it comes to improving your communication – you need to know how things are now before you can make a deliberate purposeful choice to communicate better in future.
- Assumptions can muck up communication in short order. We assume all kinds of things that turn out to be untrue or way off the mark. One of the quickest ways to improve communication is to check your assumptions first – before you open your mouth to say a word.
- It’s an oldie but a goodie: we have 2 ears and one mouth and should use them proportionately. Listen more than you speak, and you’ll truly understand more and put your foot in it less.