UNLEASHING POTENTIAL IN STORYCENTRIC COMMUNITIES

Effective Communication

Communication Usually Fails Except By Accident

Communication usually fails except by accident. – Osmo Wiio In every leadership role I have ever held, my best efforts to communicate have often been misunderstood. If by chance you’re not familiar with Wiio’s Laws of Communication, my experience is all-too-common.

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Get Them Talking Again

Smartphones inhabit an essential place in our daily lives. We call them “smart” because they allow us to do everything except talk to each other. That’s a problem.

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The Word

That’s right – for the first time ever, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is not a word. Rather, it is an emoji officially called “Face with Tears of Joy.” This image was selected as the ‘word’ that best reflected the mood and preoccupation of 2015.

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Are You a Responsible Listener?

The most powerful communication tool at your disposal is not speaking but listening. You’ll communicate well when you listen well. The reverse plays out often, and most of us have experienced it. You meet someone at a conference. As you are reading the person’s name badge, you engage him in friendly conversation: “Hello, Fred what do you do?”  Five minutes later Fred has not stopped for a breath! You are wondering how you can escape without being rude. This person has demonstrated no interest in you at all. You feel trapped and develop a desperate need to leave him to get out of the conversation. If he had engaged with you in return – showing interest through dialogue instead of monologue – you would have a different opinion of him entirely.  In fact, if he had built rapport with you, then you would probably still be engaged in an interesting discussion. Responsible Listening A key to effective communication is listening to the other person. Of course, if you want to listen to the other person, you have to give them opportunity to speak. This why our module on Communicating for Impact recommends the following:

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Six Ways to Help Others Hear You

Your listeners’ learning styles can play a big role in how well they keep up with and understand what you have to say. People have different learning styles, which means we have different ways we learn best. In a formal class, one’s student ability will be enhanced while another student’s potential will be diminished if the teacher presents all the lessons in a single learning style. Similar things can happen when we speak to people. For example, a young man I know has a kinesthetic learning style. Essentially this means that he learns best by doing. He has great difficulty with chalk and talk teachers and finds their lessons difficult to deal with. In contrast, he is in his element when learning is “hands on.” He also needs to be convinced that what he is asked to do is relevant. In other words, he needs to understand the “why” before effective learning can take place. Why are Learning Styles Important for Responsible Speaking?

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Mistakes That Cause One-Sided Conversations

Paul, a member of the IT group, cornered his boss in a ‘conversation’ at the coffee station. Because the boss could not easily escape, Paul was taking the opportunity to overwhelm him with information. Of course Paul was not getting anywhere with his insensitive, one-sided communication style that ignored his listener’s needs. I hope that I’m not as tactless as Paul with his boss, but I confess that sometimes I have been just as ineffective when it comes to communicating with others. Christ-centered leaders are committed to enabling others to achieve their full potential. And central to this focus is responsible speaking. It is vital for us to communicate ideas, objectives, and methods effectively to others. This is important because our listeners need to be able respond appropriately in order to achieve their full potential. Most leaders are all able to talk well, but this does not guarantee that real communication is taking place.

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Are You an Engaging Speaker or “Mogadon Man”?

In the mid 80′s, while fibre optics was still the new and immature technology I attended a telecommunications conference. Compared to today this was the technological stone-age. After almost 25 years two presentations at that conference stand out in my mind to this day. One was delivered by a Japanese technologist. Unfortunately his English was indistinct and in an auditorium sadly impossible to follow. I am sure his topic was interesting but he was just so much hard work that, along with the rest of the audience, my brain shut down for 40 minutes as frustration and boredom set in. Having said that, his English was far better than my Japanese, so good for him for having a go.

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