Maybe this helped shaped my career, or maybe my mind simply stores the most random information.
Anyhow, I do recall the lyrics:
Communication let me down,
And I’m left here
Communication let me down,
And I’m left here, I’m left here again
And the lyrics are quite important because I have often been let down – or been the one letting others down – due to ineffective communication.
We are a species which has evolved to communicate freely yet are still far from masters of this art.
Communication is something we do on a daily basis, but we often don’t give too much thought as to how we’re doing it or how we can improve.
With better communication we can enhance our relationships, both personal and business.
And since just about everything in life is based on relationships, the impact of improved communication can be far-reaching, especially when it comes to running a business.
Communication must be a two-way thing
It’s not just about how you talk to people, it’s also about how well you can listen – as I have also mentioned in previous articles.
I would go as far as to say that listening is probably the most important part of the communication process, as long as you actually register, understand and act on what the other person is saying.
Active listening can be a way of tapping into the unconscious minds of your colleagues and your clients.
With active listening you can seek to understand what others think and feel without making them feel as though they are being interrogated.
It may not always spark instant ideas, because thoughts will transfer from the unconscious mind of another into your own unconscious.
This form of listening is very different from typical conversations that you are used to having.
It has the intent to understand, rather than thinking about our reaction or response to the communication.
The result is that the other person feels that you are interested in them and what they have to say.
For example, if you were in a conversation with someone who said “I went to the new restaurant in town the other day” a normal response might be “I haven’t been there yet, but I did eat at XYZ restaurant the other week and the food was brilliant.”
Now if you switched to active listening mode, your response will be different. You might enquire what it was they liked about the restaurant, the service, the food, the ambience.
Ask who they went with and how much of a difference that made to the experience? What did they eat and drink?
Body and mind
But there is more to active listening than just speaking and listening.
Your body language must be right and not appear defensive or disinterested.
You also need to acknowledge that you are listening, and you may also wish to repeat or paraphrase what the other person has being saying back to them to provide clarification.
Active listening is an often-underutilised aspect of successful relationship building.
So, if you don’t want your communication to let you down – integrate some active listening into your daily routines.