Communication Skills (The art of speaking and listening)
My purpose it to cause you to realize the personal value of your communication skills, to provide you with information and motivation to make great improvements in your life through the art of communication.
Our ability to communicate effects the quality of our every day lives. It affects our ability to advance professionally no matter what line of work we are in.
The number one reason people don't get the job advancements they want is attributed to poor communications skills. The number one reason for divorce is attributed to poor communication skills. The number one reason we have trouble with our teen age children is contributed to poor communication.
Few people have good communication skills. Most of us communicate the same way our parents did and assume somehow the same habits will bring different results. When that doesn't happen, we are disappointed. Someone once said, 'the definition for insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.' Few of us know how to get good results. Fewer still are aware that they often cause the effects that they don't want, but don't know how to cause the effects they do want.
People who are successful in relationships have one thing in common. They never stop APPRECIATING each other. Those who appreciate each other, have relationships that last. To understand and carry out techniques of successful communication, one must become aware of the emotional environment. Become aware of what is not said. Recognize vulnerabilities, needs and feelings. See the person you wish to communicate with for who and what they are, for what they need, feel and want and for what they desire to accomplish. You'll be surprised how much you can determine before a word is spoken. When they do speak, listen well to what they have to say. Your first objective should be to try to understand. Later you can attempt to be understood. If you are not aware of this procedure or refuse to apply it, communication will be ineffective and incomplete. You will then be challenged with trying to get it back on track. Fifty percent of communication is LISTENING. The art of listening is an acquired skill. Listening is the basis for real communication and understanding. Friends listen to friends. Listening is the quality of all good friendships. A person who cares about you listens to you.
If you talk but don't listen, you should not be surprised to find that others don't want to listen to you.
Listening is an act of caring. Caring and being cared about is a basic human need. It appeals to the humanity of all of us. If someone doesn't care about what you feel, you will protect your feelings from them. If someone doesn't' care what you think, you will hide your thoughts from them. Both of these responses create distance. If someone tells you the basic core of your mind and your heart are not OK, you naturally pull away. Allowing and accepting a person for feeling what they feel and thinking what they think is validating them. Everyone seeks validation. Everyone seeks a safe place where they can be who they really are. When you want communication, do you provide a place or an environment where the person you want to communicate with feels comfortable in speaking with you? Do you listen? Just listen, without judgment, without opinions, without trying to fix anything. Do you listen and validate what you heard? Do you acknowledge and GET how they feel? Do you try to understand their needs and desires?
Most people don't listen. They are too busy planning what they are going to say as soon as the other person shuts up. They are too busy trying to tell the other person how they ought to feel, how they should think and what they had better do, instead of accepting how they do FEEL, how they do THINK and what THEY WANT to do. If you really want communication, don't tell them. ASK them, how they feel and think. Then LISTEN diligently.
When they have finished entrusting you with their inner most current reality, validate and accept what you heard. THEN you can share with them how you FEEL. The key is FEELING.Always speak with respect, compassion and sincerity. I assure you, they will feel the difference. When you can share and accept each others feelings, you have begun the basic art of real communication.
People who have no sensitivity for other people make poor choices for partners in life. A person who has no compassion or caring about the needs of others is a poor choice for community leadership.
A person who has no awareness or concern for the needs of other people is not an asset in a business where he comes in constant contact with the public. No one can hide what they really are for long. Their actions will speak the truth their words attempt to hold secret.
Be sincere. Be honest. If you are not believable, don't be surprised if others don't believe in you. A sincere appreciation for who one is and what one has to offer creates a bond of mutual respect. Compassion, respect and caring are the foundations of real communication, an entrustment held with integrity where it is safe to be whom and what you are.
Basic principals of communication apply in ALL relationships. Embraced within the excellence of communication skills are the principles of teaching, guidance and leadership.
History is filled with leaders who demanded respect, but great leaders INSPIRED it. Standard techniques have been historically used by standard teachers, but great teachers find the personal gem within their student and polish it to outstanding value. The value of appreciating those, whom we teach, represent or lead, is severely underestimated. There would be no congressmen without their constituents. No bosses without their employees. No head of the family without a family. Every piece of the puzzle is valuable. Without them the picture is always incomplete.
It has been said that the single quality that elevates a person's capacity to increase their income, is E.Q. EQ is not to be confused with I.Q.E.Q. Stands for ones emotional I.Q., the quality of emotional understanding and working with people. In other words, PEOPLE SKILLS. Having people skills can elevate your capacity for success in all walks of life. Many people improve as much as 80%. We are people, dealing with people. Without humanitarian qualities we can't intelligently expect long term positive results.
To get the results one wants, one must know how to create them. Cause and effect happen even if we don't realize the part we played, but we can learn to cause the effects we really do want.
Few of us grew up in families with good leadership, good communication skills and a minimum of dysfunctional behavior. The good news is, we are grown up now, theoretically, and can be the captain of our own ship. Now the trick is to learn to sail it without running aground. Be encouraged. There is help. A popular solution is to join a Toastmasters club.
Toastmasters International is an organization dedicated to teaching communication and leadership skills. Toastmasters International is constructed like an apple ladder. One side has progressive steps to progressively elevate fellow members in speaking skills. The other side has progressive steps to elevate fellow members in leadership skills. Both sides must be completed to stand at the top.
Toastmasters International is available is almost every city, county and country. It literally is International.Membership is always open to the public. If you are serious about the benefits of changing your life through good communication skills, I strongly urge you to join your local Toastmasters club. For many, the ability to do public speaking is not enough. They have children to raise, classes to teach, businesses to run and public obligations to fulfill. Without leadership skills they would have no way of managing people, problems and time.
Time becomes critical in classes, business meetings and public formats. Using time effectively can be the difference between success and failure. Leading others and keeping them using time effectively can be the difference between an executive promotion and a pink slip. Many employers send their employees to Toastmasters. The objective is to prepare them for a smoother higher and better performance level.
Heads of families, Bosses, managers and C.E.O's polish their leadership skills by understanding the psychological human response necessary for accomplishment. They are reminded that commanding performance makes others feel devalued and there by decreases productivity. INSPIRING performance by validating and appreciating others makes them know they are valuable, which in turn increases productivity as well as creating a desirable working atmosphere.
A team that has no self esteem will have no motivation. No motivation equals no desire to be productive. No production, no product, no advancement. Effective leadership is done through motivation, not punishment. Those you motivate will appreciate you, love their work and automatically be more productive. Motivate them by recognizing and using their own personal excellence. Train them in a manner and a job where they can use their own creative skills, their own abilities and trust them to do it well. If and when they need guidance, give it to them. Create incentive by utilizing a personal part of their talent. It makes a big difference.
When good things happen, give out those awards and rewards. It is vital that awards and rewards are never misused or the incentives they offer will dissipate. There is no value in counterfeit money. There is no value in counterfeit awards. Honesty is vital. If your family, team or employees don't believe in you, you will loose respect. If they don't respect you they won't value what you say.People like meaningful work. Do all you can to give each one of them a personally meaningful job? It increases their senses of self value and the value of their work. It makes productivity more enjoyable and builds a better work environment. When a person likes their job, everybody around them benefits. Integrity is essential. If you can't be a leader who is dependable and does what he says and means what he does, you staff will feel no desire to be loyal to you. If you're solid gold on top and solid gold plastic underneath, they will soon be looking for something or someone of greater value.
People want good leadership. When a leader acts like a leader, with dependability and respect to his staff. He will get dependability and respect in return. If you want children students or personnel who care about your family, class or company, care about them and their future in it. Care about their personal capacity grow and increase their value and their income or rewards within the family, group or company. If you have found the personal gem within that person and polished it, you create a value that can increase his standard of living as well as the productivity of your team and you will have a long standing friendship as well as a long standing working relationship.Money is a good motivator. Christmas Bonuses, higher wages, awards for ideas and actions that improved the family, team or company, all help keep motivation high. Praise when something is done that deserves praise. Everyone likes to know they are appreciated. Be sincere honest and specific about your praise and above all be prompt with it.
Public recognition motivates by showing everyone that the one recognized is valued and appreciated. Open acknowledgment, with respect and admiration validate anyone and publicly appreciating them goes a long was in greasing the wheels for a smoother ride to higher achievement. Appreciation of your team members and employees is one of the very best insurance policies you can implement for the personal and group growth and satisfaction levels.
Show your confidence by promoting them to a position with greater responsibility. Trust them to handle more, to make more decisions that play a bigger roll in the family or the company. Respect them by letting them use their own methods as long as those methods are equally productive. You may be surprised to discover that their method is more productive. As long as it is cost effective, give him a chance to show you what he's made of. His creative methods may become the methods you want to keep.
Match rewards with achievements. If an employee is worth more, pay him more. If a child does more, reward him more.Reward only desirable behavior. If you reward undesirable behavior you are bound to get more of it. Don't make any exceptions. People quickly learn to do what works. If making you miserable pays off, you are going to be a lot more miserable in the future if you give rewards to a person to placate them.
Do not accept unacceptable behavior. When you accept it with no response, the unwritten message is that it will be accepted with no problem in the future. The very act of tolerating it makes it appear to be alright and acceptable as far as you are concerned. Insist on being treated with respect and accept nothing less. Those who refuse to act respectfully should be illiminated from your presence and from your company if the behavior persists. Undesirable behavior must have consequences. Eliminate personnel that demotivates your staff.
I realize you can't fire your children, but you can deny them FRONT CENTER STAGE. Don't break the rules for anyone. Your integrity depends on it. You cannot inspire through leadership, if you don't develop the strength of character required to be a true leader , the kind of leader one is inspired to respect.
Recognizing personal and individual qualities, strengths, talents and abilities, will strengthens initiative. Initiative is a most prizes quality for the success of any endeavor.
Remember, leading with compassion creates safe place to grow and to stay. Leading with force creates a natural desire to leave. Wittingly or unwittingly we do have an effect by what we say and do as we walk through life. Let us do it wittingly.
Do you need a quick wit to handle those unexpected moments?
If you haven't been saying what you meant to say, what you wish you had said or what you wish you had thought about saying, don't despair. Toastmasters have an extemporaneous speaking provision for that purpose. It is called table topics. The speaker is surprised by being called upon to speak with no preparation and no warning as to the subject matter he will be asked to speak about.
This is an opportunity to sharpen the speaker's ability to Think ON HIS FEET, to look at the subject differently, to be creative, sharpen his wit and not be caught off guard. He can recreate the topic for educational purposes. He can turn it into humor, a topic for investigation, or simply paint it another color and present it in a different frame, or something else. The choice is his.
Confidence is the bonus that accompanies good communication skills. Opportunities to expand your speaking talents are everywhere. The best ones are putting these skills into practice every time you open your mouth, and then use them to shine everywhere people gather.When they love what and how you communicate, they may request you as their next speaker.
You can take your speaking skills to the height and breadth of your choosing. Toastmasters International has manuals and fellow Toastmasters to act in leadership and supporting rolls to assist you, regardless of the speaking path you have chosen or the level of expertise you choose to achieve. This is your life. You can have the ability to communicate your dreams in a way that helps them to become reality. You can have the confidence to do and love who you really are, and the skills to create your own cause and effect and your own future, through the art of communication.