Having worked with companies across South Africa for 20 years, there are recurring challenges that we find crop up again and again across many sectors and industries.
One of these issues is the challenge of defective communication and addressing the damage that occurs when communication starts to break down.
And it’s getting worse …
New forms of communication and the increasing reliance on social media and messaging platforms to quickly ‘get the message across’ with minimal fuss, is creating real problems and issues for organisations.
We’ve identified 3 important themes that crop up again and again. Focus on solving these challenges and you will be well on your way to having a happier, more connected workforce – Meaningful Connections, The Art of Listening and The Power of Words.
As Simon Sinek points out, effective communication requires a meeting of minds and is ‘messy’. To reach consensus and connect, people need to converse in a meaningful way so as to ensure that issues are properly covered and
In order to deal with difficult challenges we need to converse and have rapport. Rapport is defined as a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned are “in sync” with each other, understand each other’s feelings or ideas, and communicate smoothly.
Many of the ’new’ forms of communication that people are increasingly defaulting to (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, email) are incredibly convenient yet do not lend themselves to creating a meaningful connection or rapport between individuals.
As a result we have losing the art of the conversation as we search for ever more convenient and ‘efficient’ ways to interact.
What To Do?
Have the meetings that are necessary. Pick up the phone when you need to. Don’t attempt to sort out challenging situations via email.
In our own interactions with clients, when we have a challenging brief we often solve all of the issues in a single 30 minute meeting that would take days of emails to sort out. We also generally find that we have better outcomes when there has been an actual conversation and a meeting of minds during the planning phase.
One of our clients (a large international organisation) was having increasing challenges around miscommunications in emails. One simple solution was to implement Skype as an alternative to afce to face meetings (they have offices in 15 African Countries). As a result they have reported a huge improvement in their communications.
The Art Of Listening
Biggest Challenge around Communication. We don’t listen for 2 reasons:
It is hard and requires focus, we are all too busy.
When we talk we are in control.
Don’t pontificate, there is nothing more boring than a pundit. Work on your listening skills, the best leaders are great listeners
Steven R Covey: we listen to reply, not to understand … important to focus on understanding what the person is trying to say
Everyone is a specialist in something – everyone we meet is interesting, take the time to listen and you might learn something
Buddha: when our mouths are open, we aren’t learning
Calvin Cooledge – Nobody ever listened their way out of a job
The Power of Words
Massive power for good and evil.
Be authentic. Stand within your own space
Be honest. If you are intending to lie, rather keep quiet. Trust … respect …
Choose your words carefully, be mindful of their powerful effect on others. Show love at all times in conversations: by this is meant wish the other person well while you are talking. It is impossible to judge others while you wish them well. Have an open mind and heart while conversing. Tony Robbins: Almost all toxic relationships can be solved by showing love in every conversation – they will come round …
For the other 1% who don’t respond to love and kindness, remove them