(S)he’s all talk…
We’ve all heard that phrase before and know it is not meant in the most complimentary of ways. We recognize them when they speak, can almost pick them out of a crowd, but would we be able to call it out, let alone see it…if we were looking in a mirror?
Harsh question, I know, and one that perhaps raised the emotion level inside as you read it. I mean, who am I to challenge you, let alone call you out for “being all talk”? First off, let me assure you I am doing no such thing and now that I have hopefully made that clear, let’s get on to the topic of communication.
Before we get going, however, let me define 2 words:
1) the imparting or exchanging of information or news.
2) means of connection between people or places, in particular.
1) the act, utterance, or discourse of a person who speaks
So one word is the exchange of ideas and involves connection, and the other – the movement of lips to create sound and words.
As a corporate trainer, I can remember teaching courses in Communication Skills, the concept of active listening, and how to have difficult discussions as well as how to motivate and inspire your employees. Participants and myself exchanged information that if effectively implemented, could be a powerful tool, but more importantly, a life-saving resource.
As a powerful tool, when you learn to communicate, you learn to exchange information and CONNECT with the person or people you are communicating with. There is a 2-way conversation, and at the end each person, or group, is clear on what is happening, what needs to be done, and also has an enhanced motivation to perform. It’s the difference between telling an employee what is happening or having them knowledgeable, engaged and inspired in the activity. Which do you think would provide better results?
As a life-saving tool, communication gets people the help and resources they need when they may be unable to do so themselves, but in so many instances, people merely speak of the resources available, rather than communicating with the person who needs them, making a connection, and guiding them to utilize it. It’s the difference between telling someone a Help Line is available if you need it, and connecting with the person struggling and guiding them to the help they need. Which one is more apt to save a life?
Of late, communication skills seem to be taking a beating. The advent of social media has made many of us less “social”. At the click of a mouse, or the verbalization of a name (Alexa, Siri, etc…) we have whatever information we want at our beck and call. We even can go as far as to tailor exactly which information, news, AND VIEWPOINTS will be presented to us. Our communication happens more and more over text and email rather than walking to the next office or cubicle and having a face-to-face.
Now, none of what I just said is to admonish or criticize, but rather point out how it is right now in many cases. As the saying goes, “it is what it is” but i’d like to change that saying to “it is what it is; right now”. It doesn’t mean this is how it will be a minute from now, or a day, week, month or year from now; just how it is – right now. And change is what I am proposing.
As the saying goes, we were given two eyes, two ears, and one mouth; perhaps we should use them in that proportion. We are quick to speak, even before we have seen what happened or heard the how and why. How about this:
- Learn to take a breath.
- Put space between the input you are receiving and the response you provide.
- Learn to ask why something happened rather than what you are going to do about it.
- Consider whether you need to react at all.
Remember, you cannot control what happens to and around you, but you absolutely can control how you choose to react, and it is our choices, not our abilities that most define us. Yes, there were a lot of motivational sayings and inspirational clips in there, but that’s what I do, among other things.
When was the last time you inventoried your communication skills toolbox? How is your active listening? How do you provide constructive criticism or more importantly, how open and reactive are you when you receive it? How do you think your results could change if you updated and refreshed your communication skills toolbox? Communication skills are not just what is said. It involves what is heard, understood, taking time to react, and a whole barrage of skills and techniques far beyond just the mere words that are exchanged. Are you a master of one or a master of all? Take the time to hone your skills. Seek the resources you need to make you an expert in this area because the results can far exceed any investment you put in, and can impact far more than just yourself.
#jimgoldfuss #1DegreeofDifference #GoingYourWay