1. Practice makes perfect. Don’t assume you try once or twice and get results. Every day, every interaction, requires you to practice. Watch for where you see improvements and what is still not working, as well as you would like, and then make the adjustments.
2. Listen like you’ve never listened before. We all think we listen but mostly we listen with filters, assumptions and judgments. Don’t just hear the words; listen to what isn’t being said and the meaning underneath the words. You’ll be surprised at what you will learn.
3. Critical conversations need the right environment. Any conversation that is important needs the right environment to ensure success. That includes the where…where is it going to take place; the how…on the phone or face-to-face; and the time…it can’t be rushed.
4. Ask more questions. Most of us don’t ask enough questions; we assume we know or understand. Keep asking questions to drill down to the core issues of what is being said.
5. It is not all about you. Even if you initiated the conversation, it’s not all about you. The other person needs to believe they are heard, that they are important, that the relationship is a partnership…all the warm, fuzzy stuff that is critical to communication.
6. Pay attention. This means not thinking about your next meeting or what you need to do. It means totally being present to the conversation without your mind distracting you in a million different directions. And don’t respond to emails while you are on the phone with someone!
Much of what doesn’t work in organizations is directly or indirectly related to communications. I’ve written dozens of posts on this topic which you can find here.
You’ll see subtle shifts in your relationships, in performance…in a variety of areas inside your organization as your business communication skills improve. Don’t take my word for it, find out for yourself.
© 2011 Incedo Group, LLC