Updated: Apr 12, 2020
Are you a great communicator?
Jobs are asking for "great communication skills", but what exactly does that mean? It's pretty simple, you talk, write or sign and people pay attention and everyone is happy!
Imagine the difference between trying to communicate with a #cat versus a #dog. While both can be trained to follow specific commands, the methods of training are very different. Then each cat and each dog has his/her own personality and the methodology then needs to be modified to fit that particular pet.
What about #kids? #Children will absolutely challenge your perception of your ability to communicate. One day, a #Caribbean mother said to her North American born son, "Put that cup to your head!" Mom meant to convey, "Drink your juice." Sonny Boy, heard something very different. He put the bottom of the cup on his forehead, with all seriousness, and full intention to be obedient to Mom. Everyone had a big laugh.
This gives an important clue. Communication changes based on the participants. If communication depends on the participants, how can one individual be labeled as an "effective communicator"?
In order to be an effective communicator, you need to be able to give enough information in the right way for your audience to paint a picture in their minds that matches the picture in your own mind. This requires a few things:
#Clarity - intimately understand the core of your message. Take the time to paint your picture first. You need to know all of the nuances of your message in order to cut away unnecessary information that distracts from the picture your audience needs to create in their minds.
#Flexibility - once you understand your core message, you will need to repackage it based on your audience. Remember the cat versus the dog. Different audiences will interact with you and your information differently. Consider explaining your picture to a person with a visual impairment. Do you give up because their brain deciphers colors differently than yours does? Or do you change your directions? Maybe instead of listing colors you give directions based on physical position.
#Empathy - you are awesome! Guess what...other people are awesome too! Your awesome isn't their awesome. If you can only communicate with people who think and process the way you do, you are losing the opportunity to communicate with the majority of the world. Take a moment to step back and appreciate that there are other ways to give and to receive information. Also, how your message is received depends greatly on the emotional space of your recipient. Think of joking around with your best friend when s/he is in a good mood as opposed to when s/he is upset about something...oooo, tread carefully... yet, with empathy, you could break through that barrier and reach him/her when no one else can.
#Patience - time is money! Time is the least renewable resource. When we invest time into another person and they know that we have taken the time to ensure that they understand, we would go beyond communicating to building a relationship.