Enhancing your performance in life: The importance of communication
As humans we communicate information, intentional or otherwise, almost every second of the day. Why are some people so bad at it?! How do we fine tune ourselves?
Communication is the number one cause of relationship problems, both professional and personal. I’m willing to bet you’ve heard this many times before. Often, it’s not a lack of communication, but rather rushed or incomplete communication that causes unnecessary stress to our already hectic lives. For example, imagine your partner has signed you up to attend an event, only they’ve forgotten to tell you this until the night before. Miscommunications (e.g. through body language and verbally) may seem like little things, but when they’re allowed to repeatedly happen, they maintain unhelpful behaviours.
Common communication issues:
- Instinctually, we see things only from our point of view, and not from the other person’s. It takes practice to see others’ concerns as equal to our ownGoals that are outcome driven – when we become focused solely on the end result, we forget to acknowledge the process we go through to get there
- Miscommunication happens when given too little information, but also when given too much. The brain only has room for so much information, so important points can get lost
- Your mouth is saying one thing, but your body is saying another. Sometimes without intending to, our body language can come off as defensive, even if you are in agreeance with someone
- Responding emotionally, rather than thinking it over. Understandably there are times when emotions run high and we react first, and then think later. The problem is, you may then apologise later, but negative feelings may still persist on both sides and trust issues develop
- We need to check our assumptions and limit ‘mind reading’. Assuming that someone has understood something because it was general knowledge or implied, doesn’t always mean you are on the same page
Tips for communicating effectively:
- Mean what you say. If you can’t do something, say no. Don’t say “maybe” or “I’ll see”. People often take this as an implied yes.
- Adapt your language to be more assertive. Use “I” statements to communicate clearly what you want, without others becoming defensive, i.e. “I would like to have more regular meetings to stay stay on top of this project.”
- Be genuine when you communicate. For instance saying “thank you for waiting” instead of “sorry I’m late, there was traffic” is more genuine, rather than sounding inconsiderate and giving excuses.
- Pay attention to what the other person is saying, and don’t interrupt. This may seem like manners 101, but try your hardest to truly be present and listen to another person’s concerns, rather than focusing on your response.