Most of us would like to be better communicators. As leaders, co-workers, team members and in all of other roles we play both professionally and personally, we know that communication is a major key to success.
When we are frustrated or stymied by something, often better communication would have improved it.
Consider new executive or manager who walks into their first meeting. Every movement is watched. Where they sit is analyzed. What they say is discussed later. Did they make declarative statements or ask questions? Did they smile? Were they quiet or too quiet? What about their tone of voice?
Or consider seeing an old friend with a new business partner. Youíve not spent much time with new partner before. You care about your friend and so you are trying to build an informed opinion of their partner, so you observe them very carefully.
Of course not every situation is this obvious, but in every situation we are all being observed as people try to truly understand our message. Yes, communication certainly is important Ė and valuable. And guess what? As these two examples clearly show, we canít not communicate.
Think about it.
We communicate with our words, of course. Our eyes and our facial expressions convey many things. We communicate with tone of our voice, with our movements and hands. We even communicate when we are silent.
So it is a paradox to think that we are always communicating and yet we still want to improve our communications skills.
Just because we do something all time, doesnít mean we think about it all time. And if we are doing something without thinking about it, we are operating from habit.
Habits are our helpers. They allow us to get through all of many tasks we encounter each day Ė many of which we do subconsciously. And while habits help us, sometimes they donít serve us in ways we would most like. In those cases, we can adjust those habits.
Making a Change
If we want to think about improving our subconscious communication, it helps to think about ways we communicate. I mentioned a list above. Others have split up communication components into these segments:
What we say
How we say it
How we look
While I agree with those components I think it is also important for us to consider a fourth component tooĖ what we donít say.