Communication is tough! We generally don’t know how to communicate with each other in the best possible way for that person. How you communicate differs depending on your personality and often we only try to communicate in a way that works best for us. To improve communication, we need to spend more time getting to know the personality of each person we interact with and tailor our communication for the person.
One of my Facebook (and real life) friends posted:
I think we should spend a day talking to people the way we talk to our pets or babies, see the reaction we would get.
While I think we still have to individualize to improve communication, her suggestion would definitely make you think about being kinder. She has a therapy dog that she takes to nursing homes and she was remarking on the love and the pets, that her dog, Ace, gets every time they go there. This is what prompted the quote above. We are kinder to pets and babies, we naturally show more love, and we aren’t afraid to express it. However, too often, we ignore the feelings of the other people around us to communicate rudely or just without thinking of how it sounds to the other person.
How do you improve communication in the workforce?
- Develop better listening skills and see if you can determine the best communication strategy for those who surround you at work.
- Pay attention to the needs of those around you and tailor your communication to their style.
- If someone seems to respond better if they get details in writing, take the time to write it down.
- For someone who tends to think logically, display your reasoning. They just need to understand the reasons.
- If someone wants facts and highlights, provide concise data.
- If you notice that someone needs involvement and people contact, interact and participate with them.
- If someone seems to need help getting organized, don’t get mad, do it with them.
- If someone doesn’t like risks or changes, give them personal assurances.
- If someone wants their patient perseverance noticed, compliment them for their steady follow-throught
- If someone needs to know the process, provide explanations and rationale.
- If someone likes to contemplate, tell them why.
Reinventing what you say to improve communication
All of the above suggestions come from the communication plan area in the DISC assessments I use with my clients. Studying these has helped try to focus that I need to speak to different people differently. I think we can all start by injecting the kindness that my friend suggested above but then understanding that communication works differently with every person will make us much more effective and will help avoid workflow meltdowns.
The last DISC assessment I completed on myself was in December 2010. Here are the Do’s listed for communicating with me:
- Ask for her opinions and ideas regarding people.
- Use a balanced, objective, and emotional approach.
- Use a motivating approach, when appropriate.
Then there is the Don’t list for me (these ways of communicating will not work with me):
- Talk down to her.
- Be paternalistic.
- Leave decisions hanging in the air.
We all have individual ways that work better with each of us. When you recognize that, you can improve communication by tailoring your communication to the person. (and be kinder.)
If you would like to improve your job search strategy and learn how to communicate more effectively, the DISC assessment and coaching is included in all of my options and packages, learn more here.