5 Tips for Vibrant Communication
I need you.
And, you need me.
While most of you reading this are industrious, hard-working, impressive individuals, the truth is you cannot go it alone.
You must depend on others.
Though you may have a sparkling personality, great skills, and a treasured talent, you don’t have everything you need to navigate life. The reality is — as individuals, we are limited. When we try to do it all ourselves, we come up short. The possibilities really open up when we join with others who complement and round out who we are at the core. That’s why we get married, join a social club, and have a best friend. These alliances make us stronger. They can help make our dreams come true. Our alliances can change the world.
Think about these “individuals” who accomplished great things:
- A World Leader…
Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and 55 of his fellow countrymen signed it. Then, together, they went to battle for it.
- A Successful Business Person…
The founder of Apple Computers, Steve Jobs, was supported by Joanna Hoffman. The fifth person to be hired into the firm, she stood by Steve’s side, adopted his controversial, risky, vision, and helped him make crucial contributions to the tech world.
- A Saint…
Mother Teresa helped the poorest of the poor. She managed to grow a thriving order of nuns in the Catholic church at a time when most convents were shrinking. First, her communication of her message influenced the lives of young women to live a life of poverty along side her. Then, the poorest of the poor were served.
You get the point. All of these famous people had outstanding communication skills, resulting in serious alliances that multiplied their impact on the world.
The fact is:
The strength of our alliances is only as strong as our communication.
Communication is essential.
Getting clear on what good communication is and how to do it will increase your efficacy, improve your relationships, and enroll people in your pursuits.
Communication is the process by which information is exchanged. This exchange can be by words (either written or oral), symbols, signs, and body language. The goal of effective communication has two parts:
To SEND clear, concise messages.
To RECEIVE and correctly understand the messages sent to you.
You know when effective communication has occurred when:
- The sender messages the receiver.
- The receiver hears the message.
- There is acknowledgement of the received message. While this might seem obvious, acknowledgment is often the missing link.
Imagine yourself walking up to a door. You knock. You raise your voice and say, “Hello, anyone home?”
Has communication occurred?
Why? Because, there must be acknowledgment from the other side of the door.
Communication is a feedback loop. It is an exchange. Again, it is essential to living a vibrant life, a life pulsating with energy, on a mission and in service to the needs of the world.
Let’s get started!
FIVE TIPS FOR VIBRANT COMMUNICATION
- Be present in the communication. Give the person you are communicating with your undivided attention. Put away your cell phone. Walk away from the computer. And close the door for some privacy. We live in a very distracting (and distracted) world. With dings, beeps, and other people vying for our attention, it seems almost impossible to get a real connection because of all the interruptions. If you want to truly engage, you need to create a space where there is a sense of honor and respect for the person in front of you. If you make the person in front of you feel special, worthy, and valued, I promise you’ll have success in communicating your message.
- Be an active listener. Leadership guru Stephen Covey stated, “The biggest communication problem is: we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.” Instead of thinking about what you are going to say, simply try to commit to your short term memory what the person in front of you is saying. Then, do something AMAZING. Mirror back to the person what you just heard. This will create serious synergy. Once you’ve demonstrated that you are REALLY listening, then start to formulate a response. This will slow down the communication and create an environment of trust.
- Stop making assumptions. You know the old saying, "When you assume, you make an @$* out of you and me." It’s true. My mentor, Ann Starrette, consistently reminds me and her audiences at retreats, “You never know. So, ask.” She’s right. You probably aren’t clairvoyant! So, ask. Ask questions. Ask a lot of questions until you know that you know what is really going on. Then you can offer a solution, an opinion, and offer your two cents.
- Respond when someone communicates. When someone sends you a message, at least let them know you got it. You may not be ready to respond. You may assume (see previous point) you don’t need to respond. You may not WANT to respond. But, please respond. Communication is what adults do. We have an obligation to acknowledge others. We are supposed to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. If you send out a message, don’t you want someone to say, “Hey! I got it!"??? Again, you can’t go it alone in the world. To think otherwise is delusional! This quote sums it up: “The illusion that everything will just turn out magically without having to communicate thoughts, feelings, and needs in a relationship is an immaturity that will make a true connection impossible.”
- Illustrate your point. When the receiver of your message looks back at you with a look of confusion on their face, don’t become irritated. Simply illustrate your message: draw a picture, tell a story, use a metaphor, do interpretive dance... Simply put, be kind enough to explain.
I hope I’ve communicated. Let me know with a response in the comments below.