Over 90% of a professional’s job is spent communicating. Communication occurs in group meetings, one on one conversations, sending emails, project management status reports, or simple hallway discussions. Most of us think of communication in a formal, traditional format such as: presentations, emails, group meetings or status reports. However, it is in the subtle ways that we communicate, which speak louder than a lifeguard yelling into her megaphone.
You Can’t NOT Communicate
If I show up to a Project Team meeting dressed in my tight high school basketball shorts and tank top jersey, I’d certainly be sending a message; a message you wouldn’t want to receive! What you wear, how you carry yourself, your tone and your gestures scream louder than the 5 words you might utter in a group meeting. Think about the times in a meeting, when you look around and you see people looking at their phones, dozing off, or staring out the window. You think to yourself, “Wow are they bored!”
Just last week I was a guest speaker in a high school classroom. I asked the students “Which communication is more accurate, verbals or non-verbals?” One of the students eagerly answered, “Nonverbals, because actions speak louder than words.” I was encouraged that she was right on track. We then discussed the various forms of nonverbal; gestures, body posture, tone, grammar volume and attire.
Think of the Project Manager who starts every meeting lacking energy and talking like he’s Eeyore personified. The lack of energy sets a negative tone for the Project Team which is unmotivating and creates a culture of “ho-humness”. At Digineer we declare our mood at the beginning of every meeting, and at the close of the meeting we state our level of satisfaction. If we’re meeting together, let’s have fun and accomplish something big as a team!
You Can’t UNcommunicate
Once you say something, you cannot take it back. I’m reminded of the youth soccer practice I overheard as I was coaching on an adjacent field. A player missed an open net and the coach said, “Noah, if you can’t make that shot, maybe choose a different sport.” About 5 minutes later the coach realized the impact of the devastating words that he blurted out. He called out “Noah come here.” The dejected boy sauntered over and the coach said, “I’m sorry for saying that. I shouldn’t have said that.” The eight-year-old replied, “That’s okay coach” and meandered back on the field. The coach apologized but the boy now knew what his coach thought of him. The boy’s lack of energy after that showed that soccer was no longer fun for him. It broke my heart.
Once words are said, or emails are sent they can’t be vacuumed up, or swallowed; they’ve sent their meanings. Once hurtful comments or untruths are said or sent you can apologize, but they can’t be uncommunicated.
How you communicate will differentiate you from others. So, don’t wonder IF you’re communicating, decide that HOW you communicate will make a difference with your friends, on your team and with your family.
Want to learn more about how better communication can aid in accomplishing your business goals? Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org