I ran across a statistic at the HBR website that drives home the need for being able to communicate well. According to a recent survey of 120 blue-chip American companies poor writing costs businesses $3 billion a year to correct. This is the result of only two-thirds of employees being able to write well. Is poor communication costing you money? Are you spending time mitigating the fallout from a poorly written email? Are you being perceived as a poor leader because you are unable to convey clear expectations to your team? Have you been passed over for a promotion because of your communication style?
Great communicators rise to the top in corporations. It is a valued skill to be able to articulate ideas, messages and thoughts clearly and succinctly. This translates well in our personal lives as well. How many family disagreements arise from communication failures?
Communication IQ is comprised of the ability to:
• Clearly convey thoughts and emotions
• Listen actively
• Demonstrate empathy
• Recognize emotions
• Walk the talk
• Use conflict constructively by being solution focused
• Gain respect through ethical and respectful behavior
Improving our communication intelligence is not as complex as it may seem. The tips below will help you instantly improve your communication.
- Communicate to be understood. You can instantly improve your communication skills by focusing on the listener, rather than broadcasting a message or making a point.
- Be attentive to the spaces between the words. We have the ability to say much more than the words we speak or write. If you’re angry, calm down before sending that “professional” email.
- Two ears, one mouth. Listen twice as much as you speak and you will boost your communication skills overnight.
- Match the message to the medium. Save long, layered messages for real interaction. Use email, text and other short form communication for easy to communicate messages, ideas and updates.
- Receive with grace. We can avoid communication conflict by managing our own emotional reactions. Rather than respond in kind to a terse email, leave the emotion out of it and respond with grace. Remember that not everyone is a skilled communicator.
Do you have tips to add to the list above? Have you ever been on the receiving end of poor communication? What was the impact and how was it resolved?