Think of your favorite teacher at school/ college or your favorite boss at work. Now, ponder as to why they are your favorites, what is it that you like/ liked about them so much? Was it the way they dressed, or the way they worked/ taught, or the way they smiled, or the way they carried themselves or the way they spoke or the way they treated you or the way they acted in times of stress? Think hard and pinpoint to the one feeling you have towards them, try to describe that feeling with a single word. When I think of my favorites, the following words come to my mind- Patient, Aristocratic, Charismatic, Leader, Understanding, Sweet, Calm, Down-to-earth, Honest and Dignified.
How did you come up with these adjectives, think of all those characteristics you thought of them to come up with such words. If you notice, it will all narrow down to how they communicate with you. I can hear you asking- “Really??!!” Yes, it is true. When I think of my favorite school teacher, it was the way she talked, the way she listened, articulated and the way she walked that I still remember, though it is some 15 years ago. All of those are attributed to communication skills. Communication skills are just not verbal or written, non-verbal actions are also an important form of communication. Think of those instances where your friends or parents figured out you were not in your elements though you didn’t utter a word or desperately tried to hide your feelings from them. Every moment we are awake, we are communicating in some form, it could be talking, writing, observing, thinking or even listening- you read it right! “Listening or Observing” constitutes to 45% of your overall communication.
You would have read/ heard possessing Communication Skill is the key to grow in any organisation, it is also the key to healthy and strong relationships. Open and honest communication builds trust which is the base for any relationship, be it personal or professional. Often we are too engrossed in flaunting our communication skills and we forget the most important skill which improvises you to the next level “Listening/ Observing”. Imagine you already possess a fair amount of communication skill and want to grow to the next level, the first and foremost thing you need to do is to listen/ observe a person who is already at that level. If you are too busy talking, how will you learn? Similarly, when you want to learn to communicate, you need to look another person who is already there, take cues and replicate. This is the reason why, listening skills are the most important communication skills which is often overlooked or negated. The best way to improve communication is to improve listening.
When you have decided to listen, do not listen for the sake of replying or with the intention of giving a solution because when you start doing that, you are only half listening as your mind starts to process- what we should say next? But, when you listen intently with all ears and only with the whole intention of listening, you will absorb what the other person is saying completely. You will be more attentive, you would be able to understand their tone of voice and read their body language as well. As a result of that your communication skill also improves.
To sum it all up, communication skills are very important, not just in the professional world but also in your personal lives but the one most important skill to improve your communication is “listening” skill.
Director of Operations, Giant Leap.