Today I’m going to talk about the most important aspect of life that so many people appear to be lacking in, which is HOW TO COMMUNICATE!!!
Communication is crucial to act and react in society and without it we’re screwed! You may think that considering we communicate constantly thanks to the likes of Facebook, Twitter and the myriad of other social networking applications that we would be experts, however, I would argue that when it comes to more serious issues many people communicate as well as a rather dim amoeba!
Now it isn’t that we don’t have the ability to communicate but I don’t think we think about the consequences of ineffective communication. To highlight this point a friend of mine told me how he was working a climb called Snap Decision an E7 6c at Ilkley on a bottom rope (for none climbers this is a very difficult climb and a rope was secured at the top so it would catch him if he fell). He got to the top and sat back expecting the belayer (person holding the rope at the bottom) to lower him down only to wake up 10 minutes later having fell 60 feet to the deck! The belayer had expected him to untie and walk down off the top so had unclipped his belay device (equipment that helps to control the speed of the rope via a friction device). Luckily he wasn’t badly injured, although, he was very lucky – This, I think, highlights the reason for effective communication and the reason why clarity can be vital!
On a more down to earth point it really pisses me off when people don’t do the things they say they’re going to do or you email someone asking for important information and they don’t acknowledge you. When I’ve confronted people (in a more tactful way than this blog may suggest!) they always say “I’ve got so much on” or “my inbox is swamped and I don’t have time to get through them all…” To me this suggests that they lack organisational skills or they are not coping with their work load efficiently.
Although you may be struggling with the demands of your work there are consequences of communicating ineffectively. For example have you thought about how you feel when someone says they’ll call and don’t compared to when they do call and at the time they said they would? A lack of clear communication can negatively affect the person who you haven’t contacted and as a result can damage personal and business relationships mainly because it gives the impression that to you the other person is not that important.
When you do communicate there are other pitfalls, take relationships as an example. There are thousands of books written on relationships and how to communicate and there about as many “motivational” type trainers and speakers making millions from this area. It is vital that you think about how your actions affect others and if the other person appears to be acting negatively try to think before acting rashly, what are the reasons for their behaviour? If they are being objectionable is it because they disagree with something you said, the way you said it or that they have just had a bollocking from their boss or had a row with a loved one?
As can be seen from my friends experience communication in climbing is crucial and communicating poorly can result in injury or death. When undergoing a training course in climbing people are taught clear ‘calls’ which both parties know to make it clear what’s going on at a given time. If only it was as simple in other areas of life!
To finish I’ve noted down a few points about how to improve communication – give them a try and see if anything changes between you and other people both at home, play and at work.
- If you’ve arranged to meet or call someone at a given day/time make sure you do it.
- If you have to make changes to the above give the other person as much notice as possible.
- Write your appointments down in a diary/phone/computer (somewhere which you look at regularly).
- If you do miss an appointment acknowledge your error and apologise!
- Think about how your actions affect other people
- If someone appears to be negative towards you take a breath and a few moments to think why? Is it the situation, what you’ve said or how you’ve said it – are there other options such as rephrasing your point of view?
- Make sure what you say is clear and the other person/people have understood what you have said.
- If you are unclear about what another person has said don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.
Hope this post has been useful and as always please get in touch, leave feedback and if you’d like more information let me know.