Although interpersonal communication is mankind’s greatest accomplishment the average business person does not communicate well. Eighty percent of the people who fail at work do so for one reason: they do not relate well to other people. One’s productivity as a Real Estate Agent is greatly enhanced by the ability to communicate well. Our weak method and style of communication are primarily learned. Our most influential instructors were probably our parents and school teachers.
Through our learned communication style many of us have developed barriers to communication, things that keep meanings from meeting. It has been estimated that barriers are used over 90 percent of the time when one or both parties, to a conversation, has a problem to be dealt with or a need to be fulfilled. These barriers can be divided into three major categories:
Judging – Believing you already know what the other person’s point is and dismissing it without hearing it through.
Solutions – Believing you already know the solution to the other person’s problem.
Avoiding the Other Person’s Concerns – Not paying attention to the other person’s concerns.
But all is not lost. We can improve our communicating skills. There are five clusters of critical skills that we need to learn to communicate better in business:
Listening Skills: These are very important, to really understand what another person is saying. Researchers claim that 75 percent of oral communication is ignored. In fact they say that people in general do not know how to listen. All too often the speaker’s words ‘go in one ear and out the other’. To listen better, we must practice the following skills:
- Attention Skills – Making appropriate gestures like leaning forward, making eye contact, suspending thoughts, closing out the environment.
- Following Skills – Encouraging the other person to develop their point ‘tell me more’ ‘how does this make you feel’, attentive silence.
- Reflecting Skills – Playing back what you heard the other person say – ‘is this what you thought’ paraphrasing, summarising what the other person said for confirmation ‘so you are saying’.
Assertion Skills: These verbal and nonverbal behaviours enable you to maintain respect and get your point across without dominating or controlling others. After listening to the other, respond clearly without dominating. Speak your truth quietly and clearly. Neither be submissive or aggressive.
Conflict-Managing Skills: These abilities enable you to deal with the emotional turbulence that typically occur in the workplace. Conflict in the workplace is unavoidable. Best practice in conflict management include: Spend time understanding the different personalities and their backgrounds; Think about the respective needs, desires and motivations; Consider the context of the situation; Seek another person who can act as an arbiter; What are the beliefs of the persons involved?
Collaborative Problem-Solving Skills: These enable you to solve problems collaboratively. These include skills such as: defining the problem in terms of needs not solutions, brainstorming possible solutions, selecting the best solutions not your pet solution, planning and evaluation.
A Learning Attitude when it comes to Improving One’s Communication: This includes a positive attitude to want to communicate better. It requires you to be genuine and self-aware. Being genuinely caring to hear the other person’s needs and feelings, and accepting them. Making a commitment to improve your communication in your daily work life.
With concentrated effort we can all improve our communication skills and reap the benefits of success in our business and personal life.