Communication: why do keep on failing at it?
If you are an entrepreneur, you know about the importance of communication. You communicate daily with your clients and your team members, probably weekly or biweekly with your providers and monthly with your investors.
But let me ask you: how good are you at it?
No, really. I’m not talking about mastering persuasion techniques, knowing it all about influence and have all the rules for guaranteed engagement.
I’m talking about the basics of any communication!
Let me ask you:
- Can you clearly convey your message, or do you struggle with it?
- Do you pause and give yourself time to listen and fully comprehend what the other person is saying?
- Do you dedicate enough time to create the space and time that each conversation needs?
- Are you aware of the fact that communication goes beyond words?
- Do you devote yourself entirely to it, or do you usually pay half attention while doing other things?
The truth is our communications are filled with all sorts of problems: misunderstandings, interruptions, things we don’t say, but we would need to, things we say but not precisely in the best ways or with the best timing.
Yet, we don’t think about it too much until a problem arises – when some noise disturbs the communication.
Usually, this happens when
- the person we are talking to doesn’t understand what we are saying or asking
- we don’t find the right words to express an idea
- we want to talk, and the other person keeps interrupting
- somebody is saying something with their “mouth”, but the message “feels” totally different, probably because their body language is conveying the opposite message
- we are hijacked by our emotions, and instead of responding, we react.
So, how do we find a solution?
Well, we will need to develop 3 groups of fundamental skills:
• Awareness (of the present moment) and Active Listening (how to listen effectively)
• Focus (what to say /what are the others saying) and Feedback
• Boundaries and Timing (when to say what you have to say)
Let’s not forget that communication is always a process; it is not something static.
It involves a sender, a receiver, a message and everything in between.
It involves two or more people, one or more spoken languages, one or more body languages, one or more ideas, one or more channels, and it is affected by other factors such as culture, location, etc.
So, why do we fail to communicate as senders and receivers?
Well, because we are human, and feelings and emotions fully pervade our communication.
Acknowledging that is the first step.
Then, we can begin to improve our communication.
I hope this post helps you to reflect a little bit about this crucial part of our daily entrepreneurial work, a part we all need to keep working on.