I recently attended a leadership workshop in Manhattan – and honestly, I didn’t really have any expectations. I knew we would chat about how essential ‘correct communication’ is for companies, especially early stage startups. I was blown away by the content – not because it was revolutionary – but because it’s truly simple, nevertheless often overlooked, how essential communicating correctly is to the prosperity and growth of a company.
Now ‘what is correct communication?’ you might want to ask. Let me explain: communicating in the work world is about exchanging ideas, thoughts, beliefs and goals. It’s expressing what’s going on in your head and trying to explain it to a coworker, client or investor. But now comes the key: communicating is not only about expressing what you think but also about receiving other people’s thoughts. It is indeed a two way street. The hardest part is not the expression part but the listening part.
Let’s think a little bit more about what receiving means. It’s about listening. Listening means being quiet, focusing on another person and trying to not only register but also intellectually and emotionally understand that person’s thoughts, ideas, concerns and suggestions. Listening is best done when questions are asked during the conversation. These questions shouldn’t be assumptions, they should be open, easy, simple questions, free of judgment and full of curiosity about what the other person is trying to convey.
What are some mistakes that you can do, when you are communicating with people?
- interrupting them when they are in the process of articulating a thought
- finishing their sentences if you think you know what they want to say
- not asking their opinions when in a bigger group setting
Overall, the biggest challenge for people, especially if they are more introvert communicators, is often to express their thoughts instead of holding back. The biggest challenge for extrovert communicators is to hold off and listen. If we all are a little bit more aware of these mechanism, internal and external communication can improve dramatically and really help a business to grow and prosper. Healthy and balanced communication methods also create trust and confidence in each other, no matter if you are talking about business partners or coworkers. So let’s all sit back and listen a bit more!