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Recently I co-facilitated a workshop for participants who have been selected for a custom designed leadership development curriculum. The title was “Communications”. Broad topic for sure, and once you get started you recognize the infinite paths presented.

My topic for this blog post is “The Quiet Side of Communications”. I’ve chosen this topic because it is the quiet side that may have the most value when it comes to connecting with others in an authentic and meaningful way.

We can be ever so eloquent but if we do not grasp the intricacies associated with the following we will “miss- the -mark” every time.

Consider these four areas:

  1. Non-verbal communication
  2. Listening
  3. Personality Types
  4. E-Mail Communications

Non-Verbal Communication
According to Dr. Paul R. Timm in Managerial Communications: A Finger on the Pulse, most researchers agree that non-verbal communications includes everything except our use of words and numbers. Dr. Timm goes on to say, and I strongly agree, that we send strong messages through the things we do, which are often more powerful than words. Consider, having a conversation while typing, using your television remote, or probably more frequently reading your email when someone is seeking assistance from you in your office. This is a sure way to disconnect from those meaningful moments that can have long range impact on both business and personal relationships. I could go on and on, but I will stop here…for now.

Listening is the highest complement and indication of respect we can bestow upon someone. One of my favorite quotes is a very simple one by Coach John Wooten. It states

“Leaders Listen”.

I reflect on it often and use it in most of my communications and leadership seminars.

I truly believe that when leaders learn to listen with authenticity (totally focused, open and unbiased); they contribute to building trusting relationships with their associates. Listening does not mean automatic agreement. It does mean respecting the other person’s point of view. Persons with authority often face challenges in this particular competency. I encourage you to get feedback from someone close to you. Ask them to rate you on a scale from one to ten, with ten being absolutely outstanding.

Personality Types
We don’t broadcast our personality types. Our behaviors and responses validate our styles and approach to connecting and communicating with others. When we don’t connect, of course, it is always the other person’s fault. Is it really? I encourage you to get in touch with who you are and how others may perceive you. There are a number of free online assessments to give you a peek into understanding the value of being in touch with yourself so that you can understand and communicate with others in the way that you desire.

One of the greatest technological advancements in our world today, is the ability to launch messages all over the world in a very short period of time. I trust that we all agree that e-mail is indeed, an essential tool in both our personal and professional lives. I would propose however, that like highways, e-mails need hazard signs to ensure a successful journey with minimal traffic delays or hazardous turns.

Here are a few caution signs to post near your Computer, PDA or IPOD.

  1. Frustrated or Confused? Don’t hit the send button right away. Relax or wait another day.
  2. Are you sending a mass mail or making a significant announcement? Get a proof-reader.
  3. Is it 3:00 AM? Don’t expect a response by 8:00 AM. You may be operating 24 X 7; however it is rare that the majority of people you interact with behave the same way. Your priorities are “your” priorities.
  4. Urgent? Pick up the phone and dial.
  5. Practice email etiquette. A great book to read is “The Etiquette Edge-The Unspoken Rules for Success” by Beverly Langford. It is easy reading and well worth your investment.
  6. PDA Click? Turn it off so that others in your presence can be turned on. It is a distraction.
  7. Sharing Personal Info? Is it really necessary? Once you send it, the recipient gains control of its final destiny,

Stay tuned for my next blog on communications. As I stated earlier, there is much to share and more to learn.