For many people, communication becomes one of the tasks that inevitably gets put on autopilot since we communicate daily. Many times, we do it without any intent. Do you find yourself often misunderstood or in conflict with those around you? Have you considered that it might be the way you are communicating?
As there can be so many variables to communication to consider, it may seem overwhelming when you stop to think about it. First, there is the most obvious – verbal communication which includes your pitch, tone, word choice, etc. Then there is nonverbal communication that can include gestures and body language. To compound it all, you also have to factor in personality differences and emotional intelligence. Given all these variables, things can get off track pretty quickly if you are not conscious in your decisions when communicating.
Use intent when communicating with people both verbally and non-verbally. What you have to say may have great significance and value so you must ensure your message is being communicated appropriately. Don’t let your words become a barrier. Didn’t your mom ever tell you, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? Well this life lesson has and always will hold true. Additionally, evaluate your tone when you are speaking. Another golden rule to live by when communicating is “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” Don’t offend people by your tone when you have something valuable to say. Not only should you be concerned about what you say, but you should also be conscious of your body language when communicating with other. Don’t send a rude or inconsiderate message to people strictly based on your body language. Consider how your body language may be perceived.
Interpersonal skills are vital in every day encounters with those around. They are so important that even companies are investing time and money to improve people’s soft skills. Soft skills are known as the interpersonal skills that help people to communicate and work together. Soft skills can include communication, team building, listening, emotional intelligence, critical thinking, and collaboration. While the hard skills or technical skill remain important, employers are learning the significance of the soft skills and workplace success. Studies have shown that technical skill, beginning with intelligence and developed through education and experience, accounts for only 15% of success in the workplace. The other 85% of workplace success comes from people skills! These skills are developed through learning better ways to behave and interact.
Within soft skills, one of the most difficult things to work through when communicating with others are personality differences. With personality differences comes different views on work style, preferences, opinions, backgrounds, attitudes, and even levels of competitiveness and ideas about teamwork. Inevitably, conflict can follow closely behind. Don’t allow personality differences to escalate to the point of an unhealthy relationship. Some ideas on how to avoid conflict include:
- Get to know the other person on a more personal level to gain insight on their background
- Work to gain an understanding of the other person’s position
- Accept that people have different perspectives
- Work to use other people’s personalities to strengthen the team
- Maintain a calm and professional attitude
- Remember, there is always more to learn
If conflict still arises, work to deescalate the situation before it becomes a real issue and get to the source of the conflict.
Don’t let communication negatively affect your relationships. Make sure when you communicate, you do so with intent and authenticity. Turn off auto pilot when necessary and give your communication the focus it needs to send the best message possible.
Do you have tips for communicating with intent? Comment below.