Communication is key. Why you should work on effective communication.

Several months ago, I had an employee review. I was relatively new at Avanti at the time. There wasn’t a whole lot at the time they could provide on my review.  I did however get very valuable advice.  Advice that I’ve taken to heart. I need to improve my communication.

I’m coming out here by saying my manager was absolutely right. I’ve known all along that communication was one of my weaker qualities. The fact that someone has finally told me that I should improve was welcomed. For those of you who do not know me, I thrive on criticism. Constructive criticism of course.

Over the years I have found myself working on my faults.  Often focusing more on the ones that people point out to me.  With that said, I sure anyone would agree with me that you achieve better results with help. Help can come from the one raising the criticism or sometimes can be solved through some form of education.

Communication is important and something I use every day. Whether talking with my managers, talking with my peers or even talking with customers. I’ve found that when I communicated poorly, the level of frustration increased.  Giving more reason to focus on improvement.

I’ve been blessed with a terrific manager. I’m no way trying to suck up, heck I doubt he reads this! In my mind, a terrific manager is one that believes in you and wants to help you accomplish better.  My manager has offered to help me work on my communication in a variety of ways. One of the most effective ways he has helped me was by peer reviewing how I communicated with my peers or with customers.  The times where he wasn’t able to review prior, he would provide feedback.

At first, I felt like a kid trying to learn to ride a bike.  The training wheels were off and I had someone helping me from crashing.  Over time I gained confidence and was able to try staying up on my own. Although I was staying up, I did feel wobbly at times.

I was learning by example and improving. Though I felt like I could learn some more. I turned to books and some online resources.  From there I started to learn different ways in which to become more amicable and to effectively communicate my thoughts.

Working in an environment where I am introducing a lot of change requires someone to communicate the changes, the benefits and be able to answer to concerns.  I need to do this in a way that doesn’t create hostility and creates excitement. Almost sounds like I’m training to be a dictator when I put it that way!

What I’ve noticed as my communication has improved:

  • People are less threatened, are more likely to approach you.
  • As you are more approachable, they will ask more questions. More questions is a good thing!
  • Hostility and frustration has significantly reduced.
  • Changes introduced are better understood and welcomed.

Over the months I’ve been applying many of the skills I’ve learned from either my manager or from the resources.  I’ve noticed a drastic difference between how my peers and even how customers reaction and communicate with me. My main goal was to dispel frustration, which I believe was achieved.

If you are looking to improve communication, here are some tips that have helped me:

  • Always remain positive, regardless of the situation. If someone is frustrated, your positivity will bring them back.
  • Be thankful of someone’s questions or feedback. Address it with enthusiasm.
  • Don’t rush. Think through your response. Better to say you’ll get back to them later than to confuse them.
  • Be ready to admit that you do not always understand something or that you need more information.

I am personally happy with my progress. Although, I’m by no means done improving. I’d love to hear your feedback or even stories where communication has helped you achieve something.