According to a study by Harvard Business, 80% of our workplace issues can be attributed to the lack of interpersonal skills and not the competencies of the parties. Interpersonal skills are critically important – a key one of which, that makes or breaks one’s level of effectiveness, is communication. People speak, people listen, yet there is more happening in every interaction than what initially appears on the surface.
Another study sites the fact that, typically, people make a quick assessment of one another within the first seven seconds of meeting. A strong first impression counts. What are you communicating?
One might say the art of effective communication is comprised of listening intently, responding appropriately, exhibiting enthusiasm, and mutually understanding each other’s thoughts and emotions.
Here are the 10 most common problems in communication:
- Initial rapport is not established with listeners.
- Body movements are stiff or wooden.
- Material is presented intellectually, not involving the audience emotionally.
- Speaker seems uncomfortable due to fear of failure.
- Eye contact and facial expression are poorly utilized.
- Humor is lacking.
- Speaker’s intentions are not made clear due to improper preparation.
- Silence is not used for impact.
- Energy is low, resulting in ineffective pitch pattern, speech rate and volume.
And here are the 5 Essentials of a great communicator:
- Being fully present.
- Being prepared.
- Making others comfortable.
- Being committed.
- Being interesting.
Whether you are simply meeting someone for the first time, or you are engaging in business development, client service, interviewing, leading, managing, responding to RFP’s, or presenting before a group, first impressions are important and strong communication skills are critical.
What impression do you make on others? Are you as effective as you could be in conversation? Are you hearing all that is being said and are you communicating all that you want to communicate and nothing you don’t? Communication is a skill, and like all skills must be honed. Make sure to communicate as effectively as you can in order to gain the most from each conversation, and portray yourself the way you want to be perceived.