Are you a communicator? How do you communicate?
By and large, communication (from Latin commūnicāre, meaning “to share”) is a purposeful activity of exchanging information and meaning across space and time using various technical or natural means, whichever is available or preferred. (Excerpted from wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communication)
Let me begin by saying, I am the same communicator, whether it be with family, friends, or business / professional contacts. Some have called me Wordy, Email Annie, and even Boring when I communicate with them. I embrace all those titles, because they come following a lack of interaction by those very same people.
My feeling on the flow of great communication is that there is a topic broached, questions are asked, information is given, and a discussion / debate over opinions and information is held until an understanding is met. Notice I did not say an agreement. You can communicate ideas and have lively debate and still be a great communicator and agree to disagree. However you cannot have discussion without good information and good interactions, and you cannot communicate without also hearing the words of others.
The purpose of good communication is to foster lively debate, disseminate / gather accurate information, and to listen. Yes, listen. To consider the points of view of others and all of the information given and received.
It is also crucial to consider the end result as it relates to the decisions considered based on the communications held. Some decisions we make in our life affect not only ourselves but so many others around us. Is it fair to make those decisions without proper communication? Is it fair to those affected by our decisions to improperly or inadequately disseminate information to them? To halfheartedly communicate with them?
An uninformed discussion is only allowed when you do not allow or do not embrace proper communication.
You can learn a lot from someone’s ability to communicate. Do they have input? Do they understand the information that is flowing? Are they open to a lively discussion? Are they always attempting to tell you what you meant, rather than ask for clarity? Do they base their decisions on what they thought you meant, rather than attempting to gain a better understanding?
You cannot…I repeat, absolutely, positively cannot, have any personal or professional growth without being a good communicator. Ask questions. Search for information. Seek discussion. And listen.
You need to choose to give as much information as possible and to ask for as much input from others as they care to give. Their desire to share or lack thereof, should not be allowed to stall your personal growth.
To be a great communicator, you must participate and you must be informed, not just blowing words to the wind hoping they make sense somewhere in the conversation. Stalling discussion because you don’t try to understand, don’t ask questions, are disinterested or have no desire to learn, is not fair to those who are in the conversation with purpose.
Yes, I use my words. If I communicate anything that is not understood, I expect a great communicator to ask for directness. If I communicate something that is felt to reap of sarcasm, I expect a great communicator to ask for a clarity.
You cannot expect everyone to be great communicators. You will meet people who are great speakers, great arbitrators, and great followers, but not great communicators. They do not relish a back and forth, lively discussion on various topics. They say their piece and expect you to listen and understand with limited interaction. Rules, rules, rules. Others will listen long enough to be a conduit for information, but that doesn’t mean they understand the information that is flowing. Still, others will go with the flow of the majority or the loudest, or the strongest in the discussion, rather than have the passion to have their own opinions understood, or worse yet, don’t have the drive to become knowledgeable and contribute to the discussion.
Choose to use your words and listen to others because words are how we grow, personally and professionally. Communicate. Never use a personal disinterest in any topic as a way of trying to silence another great communicator. One day, you may just have something to discuss.
I know a lot of great communicators. I learn from them every day. I hope I offer that to many as well.
How do you communicate?