My mother has the gift of the gab. She always has an answer regardless of the situation. Sometimes these are funny chirps, but most often they are comments with a bit of zing in them. Yet strangely, it is when she remains silent in a situation that she communicated the loudest of all.
The seventh statement in our beliefs of excellence series is: You cannot not communicate! Yes, I know! It has a double negative in the sentence. But for a moment imagine my 4 foot 8 inch tall Scottish mother, hand on hip, evil angry glint in her look, silent. Is she saying anything? No! Is she communicating? Oh yes!
I am a firm believer that effective communication is the backbone of every successful functioning organisation, of every team, of every family and of our personal achievement of goals and dreams. Studies show that more than 50% of divorces occur due to poor communication. A management survey revealed that more than 60% of all management problems have their root in poor communication. We have more teens dying in violent acts due to a lack of communication than teens dying from disease. If communication is so fundamental not only to our success, but to our existence, why are we not naturally more proficient in communication?There are many factors that lead to our poor communication skills. One of which is the perception we have that we are good communicators. Have you ever said—"I told him exactly what to do, how to do it and when to do it. There is no way he could misunderstand"? We have this concept of our selves that we are great communicators. As message senders, we assume we say what we mean. Yet, when it is left up to others to interpret what we mean, we almost always suffer the consequences.
To add to this preconceived communications skill is the fact that we often use words that have one meaning, and one meaning only. This creates the situation in which we assume that the other person understands correctly, when in reality they do not. Many of the words in our language have multiple meanings. In fact, 500 of the most commonly used words in the English language have more than 14 000 dictionary definitions. So, assuming that the other person is on the same wave-length as you can result in being hazardous to your communication health.
Then there is the—SAY NOTHING—Stance. Understanding that you cannot not communicate will help you understand that every act, every behaviour is a communication of some sort. My mother is aware of this fact, and uses her "no-speaking-heavy-message-look" to great affect. People get a message from us, whether we intentionally communicated that message or not. Understanding verbal and non verbal cues that we ourselves use, give us greater influence in getting the kind of results that we desire from our communication. The responsibility is yours.