Communication: The Essential Connection

Business success depends on the ability to communicate more than ever before with the continuous acceleration of technology and international competition. Effective business communication can make the difference between mediocrity and market leadership. And skillful communication can even make the difference between being employed and not being employed! More than for any other reason, people lose their jobs because of inability to get along with other people. Communication is intricately woven throughout effective and satisfying interpersonal relationships; and relationships are the basis of success in the business world as well as in the home and with friends.

Achieving long-term business goals always requires covering the basics: careful planning, accurate research and preparation, getting the right people together, and obtaining necessary financial and technological resources. Effective communication provides the positive relationships and mutual understanding that are essential for successfully covering these basics; without communication, any project and its potential for future returns evaporate. Businesspeople daily communicate their goals, concerns, performance feedback, and appreciation to those they work with and for. Skillful communication creates the human synergy that turns ideas into profitable ventures.

Communication is the essential human connection —  understanding others and being understood. As the essential human connection, skillful communication enables you to meet professional and personal goals. It is the conduit for mutual understanding and change. Without communication, you accomplish only what you can do alone, which inevitably is only a fraction of what you can do in joint effort with others. Communication – the human connection – is the key to career and personal success.

Rewards of Successful Communication

Good communicators go above and beyond ordinary means and methods of sending messages; they express a unique human touch in their communication. Human behavior experts have long said the most universal need is to understand and to be understood. Insightful and effective communicators meet these most basic human needs when they interact with others.

Consider the profound positive influence you have on people when you understand and communicate effectively with them:

You can:

  • Earn their loyalty and respect.
  • Help them sort out problems and find solutions.
  • Sell them products or services that enhance their life.
  • Strengthen their self image and boost their self-confidence.
  • Direct them when they are lost or confused.
  • Correct them when they are in error.
  • Encourage them when they are discouraged.
  • Inspire them to be more than they have been.
  • Equip them to become happier, better, and more successful.
  • Influence the course of their life.

Investment of time and energy to skillfully communicate with others always pays rewarding benefits! These rewards are far-reaching and mutually beneficial. New, exciting business goals are reached as communication prevents crisis situations, saves time and effort, enriches relationships, and increases productivity.

What goals have you established that more skillful communication would help you reach? Is the payoff – the reward – of reaching these goals worth the time and effort required? These are questions only you can answer for each goal you have identified as important. Adjustments in your communication style not only help you reach your goals but also allow you to experience the satisfaction of helping others achieve their goals.

Communication Skills Can Be Learned

A common misconception is that some people are “born communicators.” These born communicators supposedly communicate well because they have inborn traits and skills beyond the reach of others. Unfortunately, this erroneous idea discourages many people from attempting to become better communicators, when, in reality, everyone can learn to communicate effectively.

When considering some great contemporary communicators, it would be easy to conclude that people like Ronald Reagan, Mother Teresa, Billy Graham, Barbara Walters, Lee Iacocca, Margaret Thatcher, and others were born communicators. Yet, each of them had to work hard at perfecting their communication skills. Many other famous communicators from the pages of history overcame severe hindrances to convey their messages to the world. Helen Keller, for example, overcame the crushing dual handicap of blindness and deafness to bear a far-reaching message of courage and hope. From a wheelchair, Franklin D. Roosevelt inspired strength and valor in a whole nation. Winston Churchill suffered from a severe childhood speech impediment that required extensive speech therapy into early adulthood.

The point is that anyone can become a successful communicator. And one who is already a good communicator can become better. Choice, not chance, determines human destiny. Failure to make that choice may result in significant consequences – job failure, loss of money, lack of constructive change, broken relationships, or even the loss of life dreams.

In contrast, for the individual who chooses to become a better communicator, new found abilities, a wellspring of enthusiasm, and positive relationships are just around the corner. Improved communication and success, of course, never come looking for you. You must work at becoming a better communicator. Identify specific communication skills to develop that will help you reach specific goals. Effective communication enhances productivity in every area of business – planning, goal setting, negotiating, and selling.

Setting Communication Goals

To improve in any area of life, you must move from mere wishing to setting goals and taking action. This is true for any area of your life, and it is true in enhancing your communication ability. Setting communication goals enables you to reach other worthwhile professional and personal goals you have established for yourself. To move ahead, begin now to set specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and tangible goals to improve your communication.

Relate each communication goal to some other worthwhile professional and personal goal you have established for yourself. Improving your communication skills empowers you to climb the ladder of success and even put extensions on that ladder!

Setting goals for improving your communication abilities often involves developing or strengthening certain intangible personality characteristics like empathy and understanding. Setting specific action steps for these kinds of intangible goals is challenging, but possible. In learning empathy, for instance, you can develop creative action steps for integrating this characteristic into your personality.

First, you could choose to begin improving your listening skills. Another step would be to concentrate on learning to ask open-ended questions. To develop empathy, you can ask others about their hopes and dreams, and you can spend time simply observing people and attempting to understand their viewpoints. Identifying specific action steps for personality goals like increasing your capacity for empathy requires commitment and creativity, but these personality goals are the key to becoming an authentic communicator.

Leadership Management Institute
Reprinted with permission
Strategic Essentials is a Managing Partner for Leadership Management International.

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