Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Communication Skills

You’d think given what I do for a living, I wouldn’t still be astonished at how bad some people are at communicating.  Not only are they bad at communicating, they don’t think they need any help to get better at it.

senior management training
Communication is something that everyone does, in one form or another, everywhere across the globe.  No one is exempt from communicating; even a recluse in a cave has to communicate with him/herself.

So given that communicating is something everyone does, you’d think people would want to get better at it.  
Here’s what I mean.  Some people are accountants, some are nurses, some do ballet, some are journalists, some are taxi drivers, some are even rocket scientists.  

And all of them study, practise and continue to hone their skills.  

Indeed, most people in most forms of employment get training to get better at their jobs.

So why don’t people do it around communication skills, the fundamental heart of how we interact with others?

I remember dealing with one particularly aggressive person on a workshop who had a reputation of being very hard on his staff, using humiliation as a management tool.  At one point when my co-leader and I made suggestions of some possible alternative ways of communicating, he bellowed, “This is just how I am!” 

It took great skill on our part to help him see that his aggressive behaviour was only part of who he was and that he had a great many alternative choices he could make if he slowed down enough to consider them.

That’s what communication skills training is all about.  Whether it’s in a workshop, reading a book, watching a TEDTalk, seeking counselling or getting support from friends and colleagues, everyone can refine and develop their communication skills so that life is easier.

That’s my key message to anyone reading this:  the better your communication skills, the better your life is.  I could almost say there’s a money back guarantee in there somewhere!  When you have a sufficient range of communication choices you don’t have to do what you’ve always done particularly if you don’t get the results you want.

Our chap may have felt that aggression got him what he wanted, but on reflection he realised that he didn’t have particularly good relationships with his colleagues, his team wasn’t as effective as they could have been and at the end of the day he didn’t feel particularly happy about how he behaved at work.

The same is true away from work:  if we think there’s only one fixed way to communicate with family and friends then we end up repeating patterns that keep us stuck and frustrated.

Not only that, when we improve our communication skills we re liberated from those patterns and our relationships become more honest, more authentic and we have the opportunity to truly become who we really are.

Check out Impact Factory’s range of Communication Skills Training.

By Jo Ellen Grzyb, Director, Impact Factory

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