Do the pieces of your puzzle fit together?
What does completing a puzzle have to do with effective communication in the workplace? (The picture above is of an actual puzzle that I worked on over the holiday period, partially completed.)
At the beginning of each year, many people, myself included, look at their current situation and what they may want to add, to enhance it for a fuller picture … just like putting together the pieces of a puzzle.
As to this puzzle, I thought at first glance that it would be relatively easy to complete. Yet, when I looked at the details of the various shades of green and blue, I realised that it would be more challenging to complete than first thought.
How does this relate to the workplace? Communication as a whole is perceived as a simple process. Yet, often we find it difficult to communicate effectively with certain individuals. The different shades of our personalities can become a challenge to effective communication.
Here are five questions to consider if you are finding that your communication with others is not as good as you think it could be.
- What reaction are you receiving from others?
- What words are you using?
- Are you being observant to the behaviours of others around you?
- What is your body language saying about you?
- What barriers are you putting up between yourself and others?
If you're unsure or feeling a little unsettled after answering these questions, then I'd like to tell you about a client that I have been working with where we have been focusing on improving his communication skills with his staff and clients.
My client runs a successful business yet he has been frustrated by the high turnover of staff that he experiences every year. Luckily, he realised that something in his communication style wasn't working for this to be happening.
By working through one of my programs, my client realised that he had been trying to place pieces of his puzzle together that didn't fit. He went from an approach of pretending to listen (and not realising that he was doing this) to actually listening to his staff and clients. He had often spoken what he thought before considering the consequences of his words and actions. We practised both active and empathic listening techniques combined with effective questioning skills.
The end result has been that he has been able to fine-tune his communication skills with both his staff and his clients. He found that by communicating more effectively, he was able to gather valuable information that meant that others listened to him too. He reported back to me that he felt that his staff now trusted him and had become loyal to his business. When dealing with clients, he was able to deal with difficult situations more effectively and gained returned business. A win-win situation all round.
I am pleased to say that this client now considers what he needs to say and his options on how to deliver his message effectively. His business was already successful however, with his improved communication skills and his staff more committed to the business, there is an increased potential for him to diversify and tap into new markets. The possibilities are endless!
Your Puzzle Pieces
In business, many people underestimate the power of effective communication skills. Yet, when used well, they can make a difference not only to teamwork but also the profitability of the business.
The pieces of my client's puzzle are now falling into place. Are yours?