Have you considered how well you are communicating? That said – does anyone consider their communication abilities and how they affect their lives, jobs, and others? Turns out someone does – Charlotte Wittenkamp. And she clearly delineated her reasonings in a brief reply to a post written by Ali Anani Ph.D. on 6/27.
Charlotte tells us; “As writing and reading are different from talking, I am aware that I may have misunderstood something or that my words can land differently than I intended, so upping my commenting requires that I am prepared to apologize if I misread/write. That is also a skill set I need practicing”.
Congrats to Charlotte for taking stock of her communication abilities and key points she believes need to be honed and polished.
Whether you are writing (emailing or replying to a post) or speaking, before you become a good communicator you must become a good listener. Here are a few prime reasons why. First, it’s the best way to determine what’s actually being said; second – how to respond to that information or – third – if you should respond at all. Writing to respond to a post or message is also included within this group.
Listening skills are those which contribute to your ability to accurately receive information when speaking to or otherwise communicating with others; even reading and processing what’s being said in an email or post. Plus good listening skills are key to effective communication – whether in personal relationships or dealings with others from co-workers, to clients, those who serve you to top brass.
What makes a good listener and why does it lead to becoming a good communicator?
As simple as it sounds, good listeners make a speaker cognizant of the fact they are attentive and hearing what’s being said. They make good eye contact, and occasionally smile and/or nod to continue showing engagement. Unless the speaker pauses it’s best not to interrupt with your own comments; it may throw them off track, disconnecting them from their thoughts. If the opportunity arises – get clear by asking good questions utilizing their comments. Charlotte Wittenkamp does this well.
Listening skills are a major part of becoming a better communicator.
Listening helps you improve your human skills, and expand your networks and relationships. Unfortunately, many tend to talk over the person speaking, neglecting listening, often failing to understand the situation at hand or to provide a solid response.
In fact, bad listening habits can cause the loss of a valued relationship, or job and bring on other unnecessary losses or/or mistakes.
On the other hand, if you are reading what a writer is saying, re-read the post or information provided before responding. A second read usually uncovers information a first may not. Plus, a second read provides the opportunity to rethink what is more important to comment on. Take it slower with a second read; it may stimulate other thoughts and feelings you overlooked with the first. You may realize what seemed so important in a first read, and rush to comment on, may be far from what you decide to comment on in the second read.
Your tone is chief when communication is involved.
To be a good communicator one must be mindful of tone; it can make or break a relationship, lose a client, a deal, or a job. In short, it can negatively affect the way an individual engages with you. If your tone is flat and uninterested sounding, it can immediately put people off. Instead, vary your inflection; it can help show interest, excitement, and emphasize valuable points. And, most importantly, it’s an easy way to focus on the individual you’re listening to. You can also ‘verbally model’ – meaning speaking softly when they do, laughing or smiling when they do as well.
When reflecting their own tone back at them, therapists tell us people begin to feel more comfortable since they are drawn to voices and tones similar to their own. Also – when writing to respond to a post or email follow their lead. Unless you disagree – and by the way, it’s perfectly okay to state you agree to disagree, that should not stop you from writing your comments if you manage your tone and steer clear of insulting them.
When it comes to relationships and jobs, your ability to communicate well may be the number one skill you have as well as the top skill which helps you perform your job effectively and successfully and continue your journey through life.
Charlotte’s final statement was – “Words have enormous power; we should never underestimate them”. Perfectly said!