When it comes to communication, we tend to spend way too much time deciphering what to say and how to say it. No doubt what we say and the way we say it are essential to the success or failure of healthy communication, however there are four (4) essential elements that need to be present which set the stage for what we say and how we say it. They elements include being:
As we break down each of these elements, you will be able to see how they affect what we say and how we say it.
When it comes to being consistent, the biggest theme about consistency is really having clear, identified expectations. Nothing will ruin a relationship quicker than unmet expectations. The challenge is that most expectations are unspoken. Especially if the relationship has been in place for years, there are always thoughts like…
“you should know what I’m thinking by now”
“why do I need to tell you everything I need”
“why can’t you just do what I need”
All these scenarios play out and when they remain unspoken, or worse yet assumed, communication will break down quickly. That is why it is imperative to talk about expectations often.
For some, talking about expectations over and over becomes monotonous and they begin to get bitter. Ironically, they are the same people who often complain that the other person has communication issues.
Establishing expectations creates consistency. Consistency creates healthy patterns that increase awareness and decrease avoidance. When both parties understand how often each need communication, conflicts are but eliminate themselves. At the very least when expectations are spoken and agreed upon communication stays on track better.
Connection is about availability. The more available we are to communicate with those who need to communicate with us, the stronger the communication will be. Rather than simply having a surface conversation, the topics will have depth. The greater the depth of the conversation, the more the relationship will grow, regardless of whether it is a personal or a professional relationship.
Showing up inside a conversation demonstrates value. It says, ‘I value your time enough to be present.’ When we are in a conversation, there should be minimal distractions. Today’s societal norm is talking face to face while scrolling on the phone. This is fake multi-tasking. In fact, multi-tasking doesn’t really exist when we break it down (another subject). The clear goal here is to be present with whoever you are talking to. For some that means they put their phone on a do not disturb setting. For others they need to leave their devices in the car or in another room.
Presence is one of the best gifts we can give each other today. With so much taking our time and taking our attention, the ability to maintain awareness of presence will set you apart from others.
This has a similar feel to consistency; however, this is really relationship specific. Where consistency is about establishing expectations around the how (and to a degree when) we communicate with others and being connected is about being mentally and emotionally available, being constant is about physical time availability.
This works and is important no matter the type of relationship. In business, you might have a call center that is manned 24 hours a day to be able to connect with your customers. In the entrepreneurial world, this is being available to respond to texts, calls, emails, etc.
The goal here is to establish expectations around physical availability. For more personal relationships, this is going to look more like being available 24/7.
No matter the time frame, what is important is that when you say you are available, be available. One easy way to establish this is creating on-line calendar for people to connect with you.
Quite simply this can be broken down into knowing what you are talking about. Competency of character is probable the most important part of communicating. People trust our words. Of course, when they are followed up with actions, it provides a space for trust to grow, however there are a lot of words being thrown around today.
Being able to ‘back up’ what you say speaks volumes. This doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t have an opinion or that you shouldn’t speak your opinion, however that means that the more you speak with bold confidence, the more competent you become and the more competent you are seen as.
Competence increases influence, which increases your impact. In business this will increase your income. The more competent you are, the more of an expert you will noticed for. In personal relationships this will increase your leverage. Leverage is not about power as much as it is about connection and value. When we are valued, we are respected. When we are respected, we are apt to show up with greater authenticity, thus increasing trust.
Trust is the basis for any good and healthy relationship. The greater the trust, the greater the levels of communication.