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Communication: The Key to Success at Home and the Workplace


99 percent of the world’s problems are caused by lack of communication.  This stat is of course completely made up by myself but if you looked deep enough it may have more truth to it than some might think.  In the fast paced world of computers, TV, and all sorts of new technology we have to wonder if our communication skills are breaking down even though we have more communication avenues open to us than we have ever had before.  This article will examine some of the ways you can improve your communication on a personal level, which will then translate into success for both your business and your home life.

Many many books, articles, and T.V. shows have been created discussing the topic of communication and its importance.  For anyone who is a doubter as to the importance communication can play in your life, I recently heard the perfect story which sums up the power communication can wield.

In the Eastern part of the world lies two countries, Pakistan and India.  For those familiar with these two countries I’m sure you are well aware that they have hated each other for generations. Each country is a nuclear power and each wields influence in the region.  One can easily see in each country’s foreign policy their drive to ensure the other country does not gain an advantage.  Looking around the world it is difficult to find two countries with more distrust, and animosity towards one another.  This animosity does not stop at a governmental level, but extends to the people of each country.

So what does this have to do with communication?  Knowing the backdrop of the two country’s relations we can more greatly appreciate the following story.  I usually listen to the NPR news network on my way to and from places and they had a report about the people of India and Pakistan.  One of the reports discussed how a Pakistani woman married an Indian man.  Both families completely opposed such a union due to the generations old animosity between the two countries.  The man and woman were able to set aside this age old hatred however and communicate through a medium that one might not think of right away: art.  She is a painter, he a sculptor and through this medium they were able to communicate with each other in ways others could not.  They were able to see each other for who they were, not where they came from.  The power of communication overcame even the most deep seeded distrust.

So what does all of this mean for you? As the story above clearly illustrates, communication is the means to breaking down barriers, forming relationships, and understanding others.  This can be very important to your personal life but just as important to your professional one.  You need to be able to understand the best way to approach customers, their likes and dislikes, and how they will best respond to you.  The best way to do this? Communicate with them!

Before anyone can branch out to communication through a business image they need to start with themselves.  Here are some tips and advice for better communication on a personal level.

Tip 1:  Listen!!!  Ever met that person who seems like they are about to burst with something to say every time you talk and frequently talk over you?  It can be very aggravating.  What many people don’t realize is that almost everyone is guilty of this! Listen first, speak second.  The number one way to turn off a potential customer or even someone in your personal life is to make it seem like what you have to say is more important than what they have to say.  You need to understand what they are telling you before you can effectively respond to it.

Tip 2:  Don’t be afraid to interact with others!!  This would seem like a no brainer but many people are very shy around people they do not know or different from themselves.    Time to open the gate and let others get to know you while you get to know them!  A conversation at a bus stop with a stranger, a 20 second chat in the elevator, these are things that while they may seem small or inconsequential could be very beneficial.

A friend of mine recently experienced a perfect example of this.  He went for a job interview and entered the elevator with another man.  My friend did not say a word to him but just rode the elevator up.  It turns out the man in the elevator was one of the interviewers! A quick friendly hello in the elevator could have gone a long way to helping my friend in the interview process!

Tip 3:  Understand non verbal communication.  As Peter F. Ducker put it: “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.”  Everything from a person’s posture to whether they look you in the eye or not can tell you something about them.  Let’s face it people do not always tell the truth.  It is very important to be able to discern whether their body language is matching up with their words.  If an employee is promising he’ll get to a task in a few minutes while he’s playing a game on the company computer things don’t exactly match up!

Remember though that this is not a one way street!  Your non verbal communication is just as if not more important than the other person’s!  How can anyone believe you truly care what they have to say if you seem distracted, don’t look them in the eye, or are obviously only half listening?  You must make the effort to devote your full attention to the person you wish to communicate with!

Tip 4:  Avoid arguments but don’t avoid issues.  What does that mean you ask?  While there are often very volatile issues that must be addressed in both business and personal situations arguing about things is not the way to go about it.  As Jonathan Swift put it: “Argument is the worst type of communication.”  Arguments rarely lead to anything productive and usually just entail the parties involved being angry without the issue actually being resolved.  It is very important for you to keep your cool and discuss things logically and rationally even in the face of someone else’s emotions.  That being said it is never a good idea to avoid issues entirely just to avoid an argument.  Completely avoiding important issues may buy you some time today but it will come back even worse in the future.

Tip 5:  Your ideas are not the only ideas!  I cannot even count the number of times people have turned down ideas of mine not because they were bad ideas, but because they weren’t the ones who came up with them! Even if it means you aren’t going to be the one who saves the day, it is always best to listen to ideas when they are sound and not just turn them away because they weren’t your idea.  I am continually surprised in my own life how great ideas come out of people you would never expect them to come from.

These tips are obviously just scratching the surface of communication, its importance and how to best achieve it.  Later on we will discuss communication tips more specifically tailored to your business but you can’t be effective there if you aren’t effective on a personal level!  If you have any other ideas or tips towards furthering good communication feel free to post them in the comments below or email them to me at mat@trumanburger.com.  Thanks for reading and remember, Listen first speak second!

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Categories : Personal Growth


  1. denim repair says:

    fairly useful stuff, all round I picture this is worthy of a bookmark, thanks a lot