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The Art of Effective Communication & People Skills (Part 2)



Learning the art of effective communication and people skills is absolutely necessary for those who are in the people business. A Senegalese Proverb says, “There are no misunderstandings; there are only failures to communicate.”


Communication being delivered is not the same as, or connected with, the message that is being received. Communication is often filled with so much “static” (ambiguity, confusion, inconsistency, conflict, or distrust) that the message is not understood, supported or accepted. Many factors may cause static: the proliferation of communication methods in recent years (email, voice mail, meetings, conference calls, cell phones, pagers, memos, video, intranets, newsletters, etc.); and, forgetting that communication is a two-way process.


To eliminate communication static effectively, we must build understanding, support, and acceptance by making a paradigm shift and thinking of communication as an outcome. To do this, we must examine communication from the receiver’s perspective. Ask, “What is my desired outcome with this communication? What do I want the receiver to think, feel, and do after receiving my message?


The minimum objective is for others to understand our communication (although some may understand the message clearly and still not agree with it or be willing to follow directions or expectations). The ultimate goal is to build support and acceptance - to have receivers internalize our message to move them to action. Understanding is intellectual; support and acceptance are emotional. It’s like the difference between compliance and commitment. Which one would you rather have from the receiver?


In an effort to relate to others effectively, please consider implementing these four important ways in which to communicate to those in your particular sphere of influence.


  1. Build Trust.This is the core of communication and the foundation for building understanding, support and acceptance. Trust must be earned and re-earned by communicating consistently while reinforcing acceptable standards of behavior. When in the “gray zone,” choose fairness and live up to your commitments.

  2. Share Knowledge. Show people how they fit into the big picture, what is required of them, and how their contributions make a difference.

  3. Provide Feedback. Let the receiver know what is required of him/her and how he/she is doing. Be sincere, quick, and open to giving feedback often.                                   

  4. Walk The Talk. We are judged by our actions, and not by our good intentions. What are we causing people to see? Since people watch everything we do, we are always leading and every action counts.



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Great Information! Thanks so much.

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You’re very welcome!

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