Recently I was giving a coaching client some advice on communicating effectively with his colleagues. He said, “This sounds pretty basic.” It was very basic, but I had to bite my tongue to prevent myself from saying, “Yes, it is very basic, but, by all accounts, you’re not doing it!”
We all learn the basics of good communication as children. Listen to others. Speak up when you have something to say. Ask questions when you don’t understand. Speak kindly. Make eye contact. Say “please” and “thank you.” And as we grow up, we learn more nuances of communication.
But often in the rush of our daily lives, our communications habits get sloppy—especially with those individuals we interact with most frequently—namely family and coworkers. For example, we may stop saying “good morning;” not look up from our task when a coworker drops by with a question; or when something goes wrong, assume our team member made an error and bark at her before gathering all relevant information.
For the past few years, I’ve been leading communications workshops for the leaders and employees of organizations. Sometimes these workshops are mandated throughout the entire organization from top to bottom, and sometimes they are repeated annually because the leaders recognize that we all get rusty and need a refresher once in a while.
It’s important to realize that if we want to be understood by others, we must speak to others in their own language! Of course, that’s important when you travel to another country, but it’s also critical right here! Everyone has their own communication style—some of us are brash, direct, domineering communicators; some are charismatic, witty and charming; some are quiet and steady, and others of us are “just the facts, ma’am.” The DiSC communication profile enables individuals to diagnose their own communication style to gain greater personal insight. But perhaps more importantly, it allows individuals to understand their colleagues and their communication styles which enables that person to better communicate with important others. We at Miller Consultants are certified in the DiSC, along with other individual and group assessments and have been helping organizations and teams all across North America communicate more effectively for years.
So what about your organization? Is it time for a tune-up?