Communication skills… it is more than just talking.

Effective communication is an essential skill required in every part of our lives, whether it is at home, at work or at play. Most people think that if they can write and they can speak then they have good communication skills.  What many people fail to recognize is that effective communication goes beyond just writing and talking.

With email, text messaging and social networking sites becoming an ever-growing part of our society and business, it is necessary for people to be even more aware of what they say, how they say it, and how the recipient will hear or read what the sender is saying.  To me, effective communication skills mean that you (the communicator) can take a moment and put yourself in the shoes of the recipient.  Will the recipient understand the message the way it was intended to be understood? Could the recipient easily misinterpret what is being said?  If there is any room for misunderstanding, you should try to change your message and ensure that what you are saying is stated so clearly and precisely that there is no room for error.  Communicating the wrong message could mean hundreds to thousands of dollars for your company or a nasty argument between you and your partner.

We are not all perfect, and at times we all make mistakes. I recently communicated the wrong message to a friend and I am still in the middle of repairing the damage.  In my honest attempt to bring humour to a difficult situation for her, my email message was misunderstood and in the end was received as an insult on her abilities to cope with difficult situations. This obviously was not my intention; the message I THOUGHT I was sending was that we all deal with hard times in different ways and to be positive!

Unfortunately, I failed to follow the one rule I suggest all my clients follow – that is – always take a moment to re-read what you have said in an email, text message or social networking post before you click SEND.  I propose that when you re-read your words you try to put yourself in the recipients place; how would they interpret your message?  Is there room for misunderstanding?  If so, make your message more clear and precise.  Leave no room for mistake because you never know how the ramifications of bad communication could affect you, your family or working relationships.

So… the next time you go to write the most interesting Tweet, send an email to a client or text your partner, remember to take just one minute to re-read what you have written and ensure that the message is clear and precise.  That one minute spent proofreading your words could save you time and money!

Thank you for reading my blog.  If you have any questions or spot any errors, please email me at skye@skyeisthelimit.ca.