Communicate Before, After, & In Between The Ah-Ha(s)Posted: December 13, 2008
I’m not good at passively waiting for things to happen. While this can be a positive trait in the workplace and as an entrepreneur, it can also be a deterrent to being an effective and efficient communicator.
I’ll explain why.
I didn’t define the word “things” in the first sentence. In my vernacular, the word “things” equates to thoughts, conversations, and people getting to the point.
I’m prone to ask a ton of questions and I feel my questions are all aimed at the sake of arriving at some sort oh “ah ha” moment. I like my eureka moments – in fact I like them so much that I’d trade in all the banter before and after just to have more of them more often.
Problem is that most of work and life consists of the before and after which is why people like me need to develop better coping mechanisms and have heightened self-awareness of our communication style because it can be read as impatient, short, and just plain ol’ insensitive. While I don’t think my personality reflects any of these words, my communication style might be saying this in not so many words.
I recently had the pleasure of learning from a presentation coach who taught me about employing certain techniques in my day-to-day. “Presentation,” he stressed, “is everything from the moment you enter the room to the second you leave.” He went on to say it’s not just when you’re giving a formal presentation that you need to “be on your best behavior.”
The strongest, best communicators are those that adapt their styles to accommodate for their audience. (i.e., they may be deductive by nature, but they know how to put an inductive client at ease by walking them step-by-step thru a process and save the grilling for someone who might share their affinity for Sherlock Holmes.)
Reading body language, non-verbal facial cues, power words (feel, think, believe, etc) that tip you off to a disposition (feeling/thinking) are all clues to getting you to arrive at better communication. Of course, being negative is never a good thing. Being happy is, etc, etc.
Communication style not only relates to work, but also has repercussions at home. I’m grateful that I have a husband who may have a tendency to tell a long story and arrive at a point late in the tale (usually a pet peeve of mine), but he’s also aware enough of my nature, to ask before he embarks on a story if I’m ready to listen and to let me know how long it will take.
For those of you thinking I’m high-maintenance, I might be, but I can also tell you that you may be like me. Point is if you can make it work communications-wise with a spouse, a partner, or any other kind of loved one and end the day respecting and honoring one another, you can at least fake it in the workplace for 40 hrs/week, 52 weeks out of the year.