The Importance of Communication Skills Training
When we communicate, we often think that the way we communicate is the way that everyone communicates. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Communication is a two-way process that involves a sender and a receiver (or perceiver depending on how you look at it). The sender sends the communication over to the receiver (this could be verbally, in writing, text or email) in a way that makes sense to them. The receiver will receive the message and decode it using their own experiences in life. What was received is not necessarily the same as what was sent, in relation to meaning.
This is where communication often breaks down, and if not addressed this can lead to huge problems in the workplace.
How many times has this happened to you, where you have received a message from someone and wondered what on earth they were talking about? Or how many times have you got upset at the suggested tone or message of the communication?
The way we send and receive messages will be largely impacted by our life experiences, including our education, our experience, our background and upbringing, our morals and values as well as many other items. As two people are never exactly the same it is very easy to misconstrue the true meaning of the communication. This is because we make assumptions based on our previous experiences.
It is imperative when we communicate that we do some key things such as:
Not make assumptions about meaning.
Ask questions - if you're not sure what something means or what the message is behind the communication then ask!
Check for understanding - "Did you understand what I meant when I said .....", "Can you explain it back to me what I need you to do?"
Ensure that your communication is as clear and concise as possible. Look for anything that could have a double meaning and clarify this more.
Another thing that plays a huge part in successful communication is our Learning Styles. The Learning Styles as outlined by P. Honey and A. Mumford describe the way in which adults learn, communicate and process information. The four styles are as follows:
Activist - Action orientated, likes to get things done, excited by new ideas, leaders, social people, extroverted, bored by details and procrastination, acts first without thinking through the consequences.
Pragmatist - Also action orientated but need to understand the relevance of what they are doing first. Practical people, likes to get on with it, objective, decisive.
Theorist - Logical, analytical people, likes facts and data, will look at statistics/previous records first, researches everything, note-taker, needs structure and systems to work at their best.
Reflector - Thinking orientated, likes to listen and take things in and think about things and then they will act. Quieter people, great listeners.
As each style has a different way of communicating, learning and behaving this is often one of the biggest causes of conflict among teams. Often if goes unnoticed as people assume the issue is something far greater. If left unaddressed, the differences between the styles can lead to major conflict and difficult working relationships.
Being able to realise that friction is a result of different styles and not because of anything personal can go a long way in easing any strain and tension that has built up. Training on communication styles and how to approach and work best with the different styles can really make a big difference to team dynamics.
About PDI Solutions:
The team at PDI Solutions are passionate about guiding individuals, teams and organisations to success. They have conducted hundreds of training sessions around Australia and are well placed to develop and facilitate a customised Communication Skills program for your organisation.