Tag Archives: engagement

  • The benefits of good communication skills

    Attending an acting workshop recently reinforced my opinion on how important good communication is in every aspect of our lives, it is the basis for all human interaction and is therefore essential to the smooth running of any business. Clear, precise communication can reduce wasted effort and resources, and avoid frustrating delays.

    Barriers to effective communication can retard or distort the message and intention of the message being conveyed which may result in failure of the communication process or an effect that is undesirable such as conflict. These include filtering, selective perception, information overload, emotions, language, silence, communication apprehension, gender differences and political correctness.

    For many of us communication can be particularly difficult when there is something negative to say, or when someone needs to be interrupted or stopped and being able to extract and relay information without upsetting or irritating people is a key communication skill.

    Conflict can occur if there has been a breakdown or barrier in the communication.  Managing conflict can be very costly.  Recent research has proved that UK managers spend up to 1.8hrs per week dealing with workplace conflict. It would therefore make more sense to try to prevent unnecessary conflict than spend time managing the consequences.

    Another major reason for conflict during communication is when someone feels as though they are being blamed for something. It is therefore helpful to find ways of avoiding direct blame, you might want to outline how you feel about what is happening rather than what they are doing, i.e. separate the behaviour from the person, for example;

    • ‘I feel as though I’m not being listened to’, rather than ‘You are not listening to me.’
    • ‘This kind of behaviour is not conducive to a good working relationship’, rather than ‘you are acting like a prima donna and it’s sabotaging this project.’

    There are many other reasons why conflict can occur which are too numerous to cover here but in my communication workshops we go more in depth and learn how to be effective communicators, how to manage conflict and change and how to reduce some of the barriers to communication. For more information email; info@amassocs.com .

    Research shows that the majority of our communication is non verbal, also known as body language. In fact, 63-93% of communication is non-verbal. Some of non verbal communication includes, gesture, body language or posture; facial expression and eye contact, object communication such as clothing, hairstyles, architecture, symbols infographics, and tone of voice as well as through an aggregate of the above.

    As a type of face-to-face communication, body language and choice of tone play a significant role, and may have a greater impact upon the listener than informational content.

    It can be easy for us to focus on speaking; we want to get our points out there, because we usually have lots to say! However, to be a great communicator, you also need to step back, let the other person talk, and just listen……

    Listening is hard work, which is why effective listening is called active listening. When we listen actively, we need to give our undivided attention to the sender of the message.

    But even the best communicators can sometimes be misunderstood, and need help to hone their skills. We will never get it right all of the time and in most cases we just need to take some breathing space to think before communicating so that emotions don’t take over, a few minutes to reflect can save a lot of time and energy in the long run.

    Amanda Murrell

  • Is growth closer than we think?

    How great it is to see the sun and it is amazing how much better everything appears when the sun shines. So it is pretty encouraging all round especially with the news this week that according to the preliminary GDP data released by the Office of National Statistics last month, the UK economy grew by 0.3 per cent between Q4 and Q1.

    In the process, the UK narrowly avoided falling into an unprecedented ‘triple dip’ recession, following the ‘double dip’ at the start of 2012 and the initial – much sharper – fall in output in 2008/09. Courtesy of http://www.thisismoney.co.uk

    Though it is important not to assume that the economy will be as it was pre 2009 we should none the less take heart in the fact that trade does seem to be increasing, so we need to be ready and plan ahead.

    We know that working hard as an entrepreneur comes with the territory, and work-life balance isn’t a luxury most young entrepreneurs can afford. But you can take it too far and wear yourself out, which won’t do you or your business any favours. So in terms of planning you need to take into account the hard work that is necessary to build your business, while allowing free time for recharging when necessary.

    When you are not worn out all of the time you can enjoy what you are doing more.  Getting enjoyment and fulfilment out of your business should be at the top of your priority list, as a lot of other pieces fall into place when that’s taken care of. Plus one of the other unexpected benefits will be that you will run your business better.

    When you’re exhausted, you think you’re making good decisions, but your thought processes can be skewed. Taking time out of the business will give you more clarity, help you to focus on long term business planning and even improve your relationships with staff, vendors and customers.

    So it is important to take time out and enjoy the sunshine making the most of it when you can.  Another feel good factor is to be around like minded people to share your successes and concerns.

    Amanda Murrell