Is Message Sent, Message Received?: How Well Do You Communicate?

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how well do you communicateHow well do you communicate?

Communication is a basic skill used in all areas of our lives, yet even the best of us could use a refresher course in mindful communication.

Here are 6 Common Communication Blunders most of us are committing when it comes to our communication skills.

We talk too much and listen too little.

Have you heard the saying that “God gave us two ears and one mouth because he wanted us to do more listening than talking?”  We learn a lot more when you are listening rather than talking.

People will believe we value them and their ideas more when we listen to them. Try this: up the amount of listening you do the next few weeks and see if it doesn’t make a difference in your communication with people.

Our Body Language Speaks Louder Than Words

We are often unaware of such non-verbal communication as facial expressions, eye contact, and other mannerisms.  Our body is language is more than half our message with others, yet we often fail to consider it. Next time you are talking with someone, see if you are exhibiting open body language like uncrossed arms, engaged eye contact and maybe even leaning forward.  Especially watch your body language when someone is criticizing or not agreeing with you. I bet it is communicating a whole lot. Your body language is probably defensive and closed because you don’t like what you are hearing.

Jumping To Conclusions.

We assume that the real problem in a situation is one thing when it might be something quite different. Admit it, hasn’t this happened to you? Often? We are all guilty of assumptive listening – jumping to conclusions before we get all the facts. We often forget that confirming is a big part of listening. We must question and paraphrase in order to ascertain the person we are communicating with’s true message.

Listening Skill Employee Training
Listening Skills Employee Training

It Doesn’t Get Any Easier

We do not recognize the importance or difficulty of the communication process. It’s not easy to communicate! There are all sorts of ways that communication can (and often does) derail. Our words go through many “filters” like background, egos, perceptions and all kinds of other things and have a chance to take on a meaning other than the one you intended.

Ever play the “telephone game” as a child where one person whispered a message into the ear of another child, then that child repeated it to another, on down the line until the message got to the final person? You often found that the last message received bore no resemblance to the original delivered message. That’s a good illustration of how communication can totally break down.

Miscommunication Snow Ball Effect

We fail to realize that most conflicts internally and externally can be traced to a slight miscommunication. Ever found yourself saying, “But I thought you meant…? That is a sure sign that communication has gone awry somewhere. Good relationships always feature two good communicators: a sender and a receiver – committed to making sure the message is sent and received.

Walk the Talk

We often forget that it is not just what we say that communicates our thoughts to others, but what we do. Always keep in mind Emerson’s words, “What you are shouts at me so loudly in my ears, I cannot hear what you are saying.” Call that “signaling right and turning left.” If we don’t walk our talk and model what we say with our words, no one will ever believe us.

So here’s to mindful communication and making sure message sent is the message received.

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Communication Training:

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I share valuable Customer Service tips and insights for front line managers and employees on how to deliver customer service to keep your customer coming back. The name of the game is customer loyalty and it’s not just about satisfaction. It’s about a willingness to be a repeat buyer, willingness to recommend you to others, and resistance to switching to a competitor. Fortunately, I learned this lesson through my 15-year corporate career. Poor service is an all-too-frequent experience for us all. I provide a framework for implementing ongoing processes that can build customer loyalty.

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