This is a guest post written by Ignatius Fernandez. And we are pleased to welcome him on the Azendoo blog to explain why Communication is something complex and how to improve our communication skills.
Ignatius is a post graduate in chemistry and business management. He was awarded a certificate in Higher Business English by Cambridge University (UK). Speaker. Blogger. Author of seven books and more than sixty articles.
“What we are communicates more eloquently than anything we say or do.” Stephen R Covey
A job applicant was told to complete a form. One question in it read: ‘Length at residence?’ He wrote: ‘About 30 feet’. He figured that the question was on dimensions, because meanings are found less in words; more in persons; in the way they interpret words. After all, words are only the attire that thoughts wear. Which means that thoughts define who we are. More often than not, good thoughts spring from good people, like a good tree yielding good fruit. Likewise, not-so-good (I prefer not to use bad when referring to people) thoughts find their source in not-so-good people, like a bad tree yielding bad fruit. When such good or bad thoughts – which precede words – are expressed, we attempt to communicate. Is such communication effective?
That would depend on the response we get. A kind person may forgive an unkind thought, but an unkind person may retaliate. A kind person may not ascribe motives to the words, but the unkind person will see shadows where none exist. Put differently, communication is about understanding and being understood. To make that possible the communicator would do well to remember to be honest, clear and simple - to express and not to impress. When the three elements unite, the communication is easier to understand. No wonder Somerset Maugham wrote: “To write simply is as difficult as being good”.
Why do spouses divorce, families fall apart, children leave home, friends break bonds and employees become spiteful? Because there is grave misunderstanding in such fractured relationships. Communications (understanding) and relationships are inseparably bonded. If only we come to terms with the implication we would have a new world!
Sadly, we are caught up in the rules of grammar, guidelines for sentence construction, correct idioms and other facets of the language, that we seldom think of feelings. Some experts compare communication to an iceberg. The visible small part represents skills – diction, phonetics, word carpentry and the rest. The hidden large part is the person – his beliefs, values and feelings. Skills are important, but not as important as understanding the person or the group to whom the message is directed.
When we go beyond words and resonate with feelings we empathize with the communicator. Then suppressed feelings are released and communication becomes free. The reward for such self-disclosure is Peak communication – which normally is not achieved. It is fairly obvious that communication is rooted in openness and responsiveness. Deep reverence for each other leads to free exchange of thoughts - where tactful honesty displaces careless
bluntness. So, how we say or write is more important than what we say or write.
When we speak, Body language reinforces our message. Trained body language – since the body has many ways of supporting our words - will doubtless enhance our skills.
The next step would be role-reversal (even with those who are less important), when we step out of our shoes and step into his. That is when we see his point of view, sense the fears that keep him down, exorcize the demons of insecurities that haunt him, and gently, but surely show him that put-on behavior is unnecessary. In role reversal we do not disarm him, but arm him with the thought that he has found a friend. He can be free; he can express himself without fear. Like we do, he too learns to communicate effectively.
To sum up: Communication is the sharing of thoughts and feelings, and their interpretations, to achieve a purpose and build relationships. The ear, eye, heart, head and hand must act in concert: the ear to listen patiently, the eye to read diligently, the heart to empathize, the head to sift fact from fiction and the hand to reach out.
Now, to answer the question in the title: We fail to communicate effectively because we forget or ignore the basics in this post.