Iris Du: Communication is NOT a soft skill

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What is the meaning of communication? Communication is the act of conveying meanings from one person to another through understood signs, symbols or speaking. Relaying a message isn’t only reliant on the words you use but the way you say it, your expressions and your non-verbal cues.

Most people believe communication is just a soft skill or a trait that people will automatically have however, it’s something that constantly needs to be improved as there is always a next level to master your communication. If you think about it…

Having great communication skills is a REQUIREMENT no matter the position or level you are in, in any organisation.

You are constantly required to speak to leaders, managers, team member and clients and there is never just one way to do so.

If you look around you, having great communication skills are not just expected in any type of organisations. It is also expected in your business, career and your personal life.

After coaching so many clients I have noticed the common mistakes that people make when it comes to communicating with others

One is that they fail to articulate what they have in mind and deliver it to others. It is a common thought that as long as something makes sense to you, it makes sense to others in the same way.

Because they think as long as it makes sense in their head, it will make sense when they say it.

However, we all process and understand things differently.

What something means to you, may mean something completely different to another person as we all have different perspectives.

Imagine not being able to say anything to someone but only depending on body language to understand what they mean. Or not being able to see them but only pay attention to the tone of their voice as they deliver instructions to you.

It will be quite challenging.

According to statistics, from saying a sentence to another person, it takes them words, non-verbal cues and tone of voice to understand you.

Therefore, here are some tips on how to communicate better in your personal and professional life.

1. Imagine you are going to communicate it to a 12-year-old

This doesn’t mean to treat everyone like they are younger than you but to simplify your instructions to avoid complications. If a 12-year-old is able to understand you, then you know you are winning.

2. If you do not understand something, ask more or better questions

Asking questions to clarify the meaning of someone will only aid your understanding in what you are supposed to do. If you seem to be thinking that you need to clarify something more than once, then you might need to think about how to reword your question to ensure both parties are on the same page.

3. Always reconfirm with someone that they understand

Remember to always ask someone if they understand what you mean as even the slightest details matter in any situation. The best way to do it is to get them to go over the instructions to repeat it back to you to see how they have understood it.

Here’s a fun exercise to do to test how differently everyone in your team perceives a statement or word:

Ask your team to gather around and think of what a simple word means to them.

(Examples: Communication, Teamwork, Leaders, Hardworking, etc.)

You will then be shocked at how differently these words mean to each person with what their priorities or perspectives are.

And seeing this is a great reminder for all of us. That we should never assume. Always communicate and Ask 🙂

So, let me ask you this…

Are you currently using these steps to ensure you are communicating the right way?

What Next? If you would like to know how you can improve your communication skills so you can master your career success?