Communicating Effectively

Effective communication is a skill and self discipline you can learn, and by doing so can increase efficiency, obviate misunderstandings, and make difficult situations more tolerable. What you communicate and the method you use can have a major influence on the recipients response and ultimate outcome.

Having been in hospital on eight occasions within the last eleven months and experienced in other situations poor communication it has caused me to reflect on this subject and hence write this blog. I have had excellent treatment in the hospital by the staff but on a number of occasions it would have been helpful for the staff to have been kept informed by their colleagues and adequate information given to my self. In some of the situations it would have increased their efficiency and assisted me in my understanding of my condition and prognosis.

Here are some suggestions to assist you in how to communicate.

  • Make it clear what you’re wishing to communicate. The purpose could be to inform, to obtain information or initiate action.
  • Consider the other party and what they need, or would be helpful for them to know. Always ensure that they have all the information they need to know. Having done that ensure they understand what you wished them to know. This is to be applied in personal and work situations giving necessary and helpful information to keep them informed.
  • Speak clearly and not in jargon they would not understand.
  • Communication is often two way so listen carefully to the others comments.  On occasions it is necessary to listen without passing judgment.
  • Respond to communications of varying types even if you are communicateunable to help. This keeps good open relationships and the other party aware of your status in their communication. If it is an informative communication in this instance a response would not be necessary.

  • Do what you say you’ll do. see my blog “Are we people of our word ….”

  • When there are issues, work them out with the source, not with others unless they are advisers or mediators.

  • Always be respectful in your communication irrespective of whether you like the person.

  • When you are the recipient of assistance or support, express appreciation.

  • Be careful to focus on the issues, and not people, unless they are the issue in which case treat them respectfully and keep them informed in a courteous manner.

  • When there are differences in views or ideas, ensure you understand them from the other person’s perspective, and be open to change and constructive discussion.

  • Be honest, direct, and sincere as routine.

  • Always use humour in good taste and not at a persons expense.

  • When there is a disagreement or dispute try to resolve face to face and not via letter or email, as the content can easily be misconstrued as displaying an attitude that was not intended.
  • When we communicate remember that people Remember 20% of what they are told, 40% of what they read, 60% of WHAT THEY SEE.

Communication skills are the key to developing and retaining friendships and to building a strong support network. They also help you take care of your own needs, while being respectful of the needs of others. We are not born with good communication skills; and like many other skills we learn in life, effective communication is a skill we can learn. It is learnt through observing those that do it well, trial and error and repeated practice!

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