The ability to communicate effectively is the foundation of any professional development plan. Yet, most people simply assume they have picked up best practise because well they have been communicating all their lives. Spending time thinking about the way we communicate will allow people to build better relationships, increase their influence on others, make them a better salesperson, leader or negotiator, improve and enrich their lives.
It is not just about communicating with others in the world but also the ability to communicate with yourself in a way that empowers and encourages you.
When we talk about communication, people will often start how they should speak and ask questions. The first stage of understanding is how we listen and form opinions. Think about it how many of you have ever had lessons on how to listen, really listen to people. Listening is not a passive act it is very active, being able to listen well allows people to build more compelling arguments, spot errors in thinking and correct them and identifying great ideas and build on them.
Poor listening creates misunderstandings, alienation, frustration, lack of respect and empathy all leading to lack of trust by both the person speaking and the one doing the listening.
Verbal and non-verbal communication is an area where little development can have a considerable impact. The field is full of excellent research and tools to enhance your ability to put across the information or opinion you need. The key is the ability to be flexible in the moment and change your approach if what you are doing isn’t working. The broken record technique favoured by many doesn’t persuade it simply means people surrender and stop fighting, becoming compliant and disengaged with what you want them to be involved.
When it comes to communicating to others if all you are going to use is power (of whatever variety) its impact will be short-lived and in the longer term counterproductive.
Communication is a vast area and warrants ongoing and continuous development, not merely a one-off course that spends a few hours looking at listening and questioning along with a bit about building rapport. Helping people listen to themselves and others is the foundation of real change within a business. Building on this by assisting people in saying what they mean and mean what they say helps develop all the skills that people need.
Get the foundations in place, and the individual will build a fantastic career.
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The following are areas in which we currently have learning and development specialists working -