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In our fast-paced high-tech world it is easy to overestimate the quick-fix tools we use to solve problems or reach our goals. We typically underestimate the importance of awareness and practice of necessary skills and processes for effective communication.

The last time most people learned something about communication was probably when their parents taught them to look up and make eye contact. What we all hope happens in communication is a better and deeper mutual understanding – not merely the exchange of facts or information. We hope that our communication will build trust. In the workplace, in particular, we hope it will lead to good collaboration. Instead of just hoping or falsely – believing our communication works well for us, we should consciously develop the skill.

Think about the following:

  • have you mastered “reading” between the lines as you look for the emotional expressions on the other person’s face?
  • do you know that a soft eye gaze and a half-smile help create an atmosphere of trust
  • the slightest frown on your face will increase a conflict between you and another individual
  • the more stressful the conflict, the more conscious you have to be aware of your tone of voice expressing defensiveness
  • the timing of your question or statement is as important as the content
  • the brain is not good at holding onto four to six chunks of information or 20 to 30 seconds worth of information at a given time – therefore, be concise

How will you rate yourself on a scale of 1- 5 (1 = poor; 5 = excellent) on the 6 communication skills?

Author: Dr Gerhard van Rensburg

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What we all hope happens in communication is better and deeper mutual understanding

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