Communication the Vital Link

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

communication-earEveryone wants to be heard and to have his/her message clearly understood.  Therefore, Communications is the Vital Link; the linkage that allows us to transmit information, receive input and to act or react accordingly. Sounds logical, so why is it often so difficult to make the connection between message sender and message receiver; and why are so many communications garbled, twisted or totally ignored?  On the other hand, what is the “magic” that allows effective leaders to effectively convey messages that not only seem to resonate with their “receivers” or audience and typically cause them to respond to the intent of the message?  These are great questions and Life Coaching in the Communications Specialty area is aimed toward helping our clients improve their personal and business effectiveness. The impact of proper communications will be life changing

When my wife and I were college undergraduate seniors, we planned a student leadership conference. In the search of a catchy title we came up with “Communications the Vital Link”. Reflecting back on my career progression, as an Army officer, moving up in the corporate world, running various businesses, and starting a non-profit financial training ministry, I realized the value of effective communications and the role this has played in my personal and business results. I can also see where poor communications caused collateral damage and how some of the techniques I have learned over the years taught me to not repeat the same missteps.  Now, my hope is that this brief article, and our Life Coaching processes, will help our clients improve in their ability to convey their messages clearly and keep them from some of the common pitfalls that are so apparent in many of the poor communications we observe every day.

Modern communications are delivered in a host of formats, ranging from face to face conversation to long distance exchanges via email, smart phone, Skype, Facetime and other social media.  While reliance on faxes and older telegraphic messages is a thing of the past, we need to be aware of the advantages and potential hazards accompanying each means of delivering messages.  If effective communications embody  “The Vital Link”  which connect the sender to his/her audience, then what are some of the basic steps we can all consider to optimize our effectiveness.  Given the brief opportunity presented by this article, I hope that the following bits of information will benefit you and your business organization.

  1. Select the most effective and appropriate communications tool.  For example, for delicate exchanges, such as employee reviews, a private one-on-one discussion is certainly preferable; even though it may take extra effort and time to arrange.  On the other hand, dispensing general information to a group can be efficiently accomplished via email.
  2. Effective listening is definitely an acquired skill and most husbands would agree that their wives would echo “amen”!  We live in a media world where talk show participants and debating candidates seem much more intent on preparing their sharp response (to what is being said) than they are to actually listening and trying to understand the other party.  While this debate mode may fit in those arenas, this is not suitable for family or for business settings. The Book of Proverbs Chapter 18:13 gives us sage advice in this area: “He who answers a matter before he hears the facts – it is folly and shame to him”.  Good listeners have learned how to clear their minds, pay close attention, and even broadcast body language which indicates they are actually striving to grasp what is being said.  The most accomplished listeners are adept at giving feedback and asking questions for

clarification.  Mastering these listening techniques will absolutely improve all verbal communications and will also endear the receiver to the message sender.

  1. Rapid “knee jerk” responses should be avoided at all cost. Yes, this ties into point #2 and we need only look at Proverbs 15:1 for an excellent guidepost: “A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.”  Now we all know this to be true, so why do people so often say or write something without proper reflection?  Often the answer lies in the fact that we are too busy or we allow ourselves to get too upset to really ponder the consequences of an inappropriate response.  Sometimes it is possible to undo the damage done, if we are in a private communication environment, but it is nearly impossible to do damage control when our outburst or hasty email response was done in a more public arena.
  2. Endeavor to schedule time for the most important communication exchanges.  This applies regardless of the means of communication and is always applicable to important and/or sensitive contacts.  The odds of a successful exchange are greatly enhanced if all parties have agreed to a time schedule that allows for 100% focus.
  3. Prepare your key talking points, or critical questions, in advance and have them written down and in front of you.  This will ensure you can get key items covered and provides a format for you to take notes on each critical item.  The best note takers keep good records and include a record of all parties involved (for example on a conference call) and they always include dates.
  4. Follow-up. If there are actionable items, then annotate who is responsible for each task and the agreed upon time for whatever is next.

I realize this is pretty basic stuff; but it is advice I wish I had received years ago.  Not sure why some lessons just seem to be learned by the “school of hard knocks”, but that’s where a good Life Coach can help.  If one of our clients determines that there is significant room for improvement in the area of communications, William Sitter Life Coaching will commit to helping them develop a customized action plan which will result in major improvement.  We did not even touch on the topic of how to improve presentation skills, but this is an element we will be glad to address.  In closing, please consider just how much of a “Vital Link” communications represents in your dealings with family, friends, and with business associates.  We can all take to heart the wisdom of Proverbs 15:4 “A gentle tongue is a tree of life.”