Seek those who foster communication and build trust.
One of the most important human gifts is the gift of self awareness. Hand in hand with that special understanding is the ability to communicate what we know. Animals communicate with each other in certain ways, when they are hungry, angry, frightened or lonely, but those things are all about satisfying needs. Humans are the only creatures that have the ability to understand who they are, and to relate that understanding to others. We are created to relate, to discover, and to share what we learn.
Communication of our hopes, dreams, ideas and knowledge connects us to each other and gives us the opportunity to grow and discover. Studies have shown the human need for communication, and the detrimental effects to those who are completely isolated.
Learn to filter information to find just what you need.
In our world there are now so many means to communicate that we have to constantly filter what is being said, written, and broadcast. Ideas, advice, and opinions become mental “white noise” with which we are constantly surrounded. Meaningful communication can become difficult to cultivate. In this culture, how do you find the person with the ability to communicate a solution?
How can you know that the person that you are asking for advice is going to have the answers that you need, and equally as important, is going to be able to communicate them in a way that allows you to act on them?
Professionals have a unique responsibility to be effective communicators
Have you ever attended a class with an instructor who was a poor communicator?
I recently attended a class in which the instructor, an expert in his field, attempted to communicate some very important information to a class of young students. It should have been a very simple, clear message. It could have taken about 45 minutes to impart the important points, give some clear examples, show why these are relevant, and then give a quick quiz to determine whether the information was absorbed by the students. Instead, we were there for 2 ½ hours. I’m sure that the instructor had the best of intentions in the way he structured the class, but his message was complicated and obfuscated by his many stories, jokes, and too much personal information. Many of the students were unsure what, exactly, they were supposed to take from the class, and his manner was condescending when someone would ask a question. He may be an expert in his field, but an effective communicator he is not.
Working with a professional can have the same positive or negative experience depending on the professional’s communication style. Professional service providers must be able to communicate effectively and be able to understand what is being communicated. Have you ever had the experience, as in the example of the class above, in which a well meaning family member, friend or even professional tried to help, but because of the lack of effective communication, just wasn’t able to? A good helper listens to all that you are saying. Through your spoken words, body language, observation of habits and much more, they are able to understand clearly what you are communicating. A good helper also asks good questions.
Work with service providers who foster communication
If chronic disorganization is an issue for you and you struggle with relating others or being understood, you may find this inability to communicate to be an isolating issue.
Have you ever:
- retreated into the place where you feel safe and comfortable
- hesitated to risk the judgement and pain of even good-hearted people who don’t understand why things are the way they are.
- Felt your need for relationship and understanding has done unmet
- Felt like your problems are unique and unsolvable.
New clients are frequently surprised when we tell them that we have seen and dealt with the exact same issues many times. They can’t believe it when we say that we know just where they are coming from and they aren’t the “worst mess” we have ever had to work with. The simple act of listening, and then clearly communicating a series of steps and reachable goals can be a lifeline if you have given up on a way out.
Good communication between people is where the bond of trust and understanding begins. In human experience, it can be a lifeline that draws people from lives of isolation and loneliness back into relationship with others.
A Good Communicator Should:
- Paraphrase and re-state back to you what was said to ensure comprehension
- Be supportive
- Be positive
- Be clear and succinct
- Ask clarifying questions
Seek out good communicators in the professionals that you use to ensure that your projects are effective, productive and completed just the way you want them to be completed.