Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Polished Communication Skills – A Long Winded Dinosaur?

Communication defines what I do for a living.  In fact it has always been my living, as before I was a coach I spent many years training and teaching adults in various roles and incarnations.  So I suppose it comes as no surprise that I am pretty “hyper-aware” when it comes to this subject matter.  This awareness causes me to actively watch, wonder and note. Here is some dialogue as a result of that.

Tending to our own gardens:

A great deal of my coaching discussions are involved in how to deal with others.  These others might be a partner/spouse, a work colleague, a boss, a friend or a family member; and from my experience, how we react to others communication, tells us a great deal about ourselves.

It does seem easier sometimes to blame someone else’s communication and style for our feelings. Whereas if we took a closer look at our own style, maybe sometimes, just sometimes, therein lies the answer?  If we took the step (as uncomfortable as it may be) to tend to our own style of communication, then maybe we will get a more pleasing result from others more often.  As we all know we can’t change others, but we can change ourselves.  Nothing is truer when it comes to communication. 

Human Beings are sensitive creatures; we have strong emotional feelings for many good reasons. It is these feelings that help us bond, make good relationships, judge a situation, offer support, be compassionate and the list goes on. Therefore it is good to consider this when we are communicating with another sensitive human being.

I am by no means perfect when it comes to this area. I am certainly always a work in progress as no doubt many of us are.  Not all my best-laid plans have a happy ending, I tell you! I do, however, work on trying to take personal responsibility in the responses that I receive, as I play a very large part in eliciting that response!

Suggested things to consider (where appropriate) when communicating, especially when communicating the tough stuff:  Are we kind, generous, encouraging, objective, on topic, informative, and helpful in our communications?  Could be a good tick box exercise couldn’t it? 

Mod Comms:

At the risk of sounding a gazillion years old (which, depending on who you ask, I am not!)….I have a few observations to share on the subject of texts and emails…if I dare!   How is it that some basic common courtesy around communication tends to be dropped when it comes to using these media? Call me old fashioned, but I am surprised at how often emails are short and abrupt and void of feeling.  How is that message to be received? What is the intention?

I see email as just a faster option to writing a letter and what a great invention it is. And whilst I fully accept that we don’t need to use letter layouts and full punctuation in our emails, surely if something deserves out attention it deserves our full attention and our best honed communication skills, albeit if they are a little pared back. We can still be succinct and to the point (OK not my forte maybe!) using structured sentences, courtesy and encouragement, can’t we?

As for texts…. I sort of get it, but don’t agree with it, that teenagers use text language.  But I was never bought up or taught to use this sort of language and I definitely feel it has little place in any profession or in a grown up relationship/friendship. Please….what is YIP and K?!!! Of course I am being facetious, and probably right now, offending some special people in my life, but I think you get what I am alluding to!  Some messages are cryptic and maybe too short and abrupt  - do they really convey what is trying to be said?  Are we in that much of a hurry that all common courtesy gets dropped along with those complete words?  I understand that most of us feel a quick response is better than a non-response, but would an extra minute of attention eat into our time that much?  Or maybe the endemic “urgency” of response is creating this? I have a feeling that the answer lies here.  Hmmm that’s a whole other blog! Ha!

I would LOVE your thoughts and responses to this (a little contentious) topic.  Feel free to send me an email.  Have I hit any nails? Do you agree with these comments? Am I off beam - an old fashioned Dinosaur myself?  Am I too sensitive – ha?!  I’d love to hear from you. :)


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