I like and dislike social communication for the same reasons. When I’m not in a mood for talking, Twitter’s 140 characters or less is the perfect solution. But that’s no way to communicate. I applaud technology for it’s innovation but have we gone too far?
Stacey Hanke, a Chicago based management consultant and author of the book Yes You Can has serious dire concerns about the ever increasing use of technology in business and organizations.
Here are some of her best recommendations:
Make your moments together count. Everyone has the right to speak. Listen before you speak. Earn the right to be heard. Think about what you want to say before you say it. Make every communication moment worth you and your listeners time. Every word counts. Think before you speak. Tailor what you say to meet your listener’s needs.
Pay attention by listening for the unspoken emotions. Concentrate on the speaker closely. Focus intently on their face. Do not let your eyes dart away and drift off, since that signals you are no longer paying attention. Do not interrupt. Wait to speak only when the person has finished what they want to say. Hear their words and read their face so that you gain maximum understanding of the why behind their words.
Honor the other person’s space and time. Prepare ahead of time. Match the message to the opportunity. Get to the point quickly. Don’t frustrate your listener by taking too long to get the key message across. Don’t ramble and clutter your message with unnecessary points. Ask for the right action. Be clear and be specific. Watch the time. Don’t take 20 minutes when you only asked for ten. Show you know how to respect the other person.
Prepare for your face to face meeting ahead of time. K.N.O.W. your listener.
• K – What does your listener know about your topic?
• N – What does your listener need to know to take the action you want them to take in the time frame you have for this conversation?
• O – What is your listener’s opinion about your topic?
• W – Who is your listener? What additional information do you know about your listener to help you customize your message for them?
Tailor your agenda and message to achieve the understanding you need and to influence your listener to act on what you have to say.
Watch Your Body Language. Avoid non-verbal abuse. Every movement you make counts. Control your facial expressions. Don’t smile, snicker, whistle, roll your eyes, or grimace, look sideways, wink, or send the evil eye. Your behavior and non-verbal cues are as important as the words you say. Don’t fidget, act nervous, express fear, or allow your posture to convey uncertainty, insincerity, lack or caring, arrogance, overconfidence, dismay or criticism.
Be Sincere and Authentic. Speak in your authentic voice. Be sincere, be genuine and allow others to see the real you.
Maintain the Power of the Floor. Be interesting. If you see the signs that you are no longer the center of attention:
• Your listener begins working on their Blackberry, iPad, IPhone, etc.
• Your listener starts nodding off.
• Your listener begins to have side conversations.
• Your listener interrupts you.
Stop. Break the flow. Earn their attention. Get back on track.
Ask for Feedback. Face to face communications is a two way street. Balanced feedback allows people to be relaxed and comfortable. However, when people start feeling comfortable they also may become lazy and lose their professionalism. Don’t forget who you are and what you are doing. Maintain your self-control. Ask for specific feedback. And the points you raised, the manner in which you presented, the way you responded. Ask for balanced feedback about how to improve and immediately begin applying this feedback.
Stacey says that technology-driven communication will improve if you first focus on improving the most important method first — face-to-face communication.
“It’s a one-sided blast –Take that! Click!” she observes. “You cannot communicate meaningfully with 140 spaces! All you can say is “Wassup!”
______________________________________________________________About Stacey Hanke: Stacey Hanke is owner of 1st Impression Consulting, Inc. She is a sought after speaker, on the topic of Communication Skills. She is the co-author of Yes You Can! Everything You Need From A-Z To Influence Others To Take Action and Featured author of the book, Conversations On Success, on which she partnered with Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Jack Canfield and Fish Philosophy author John Christensen.