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The advantages of good communication

What are actually the benefits of communicating well?

Have a look at the list of advantages below and it will make you aware of the importance of good communication. Some interesting episodes are illustrated which show the impact of good and poor communication.

Effective communication will allow YOU to:

  • Get the correct information quicker.
  • Build credibility with customers and colleagues.
An interesting episode - how not to do it:

Thomas was a receptionist at a mainline Philadelphia law firm when one of the firm's oldest clients entered the office. Rather than greet her with, "Good morning, Mrs. Stevenson," as everyone else had for years, Tom decided to be friendly and said, "Hi Samantha, how's it going?" Mrs. Stevenson promptly decided to retain the services of a different law firm, explaining to one of the partners that the receptionist was improperly trained."

  • Develop more intimate relationships.
  • Build loyalty in a supportive climate.
  • Unleash creativity within yourself and others by building on each other's ideas.
  • Improve teamwork.

Photo 23254Use "we" when referring to work done by your team. Acknowledge your coworkers' contributions by using "we" instead of "I" and "our" instead of "my". Try to avoid "I launched the new marketing campaign." Instead, say, "Our team worked closely to launch the new marketing campaign."

  • Facilitate problem solving.

The way you formulate a request makes a difference. Saying to your floor manager, "Mr. Smith, would you straighten out Ms. Peters chronic tardiness?" is certainly better than "Mr. Smith, you better get Ms. Peters to work on time immediately or you're out of the merit pool!" but it is not as good as "Mr Smith, Ms. Peters is chronically late and it's having a negative impact on the entire unit's performance. Would you please impress on her the importance of being on time? I'd like this problem solved by next week. Thanks."

  • Build consensus for decisions.
  • Motivate others to work more effectively.
  • Conduct and participate in more effective meetings.

An interesting episode - how not to do it:

A manager at a large technology company had been dealing with two employees, Kelly and Mark, who were constantly at each other's throats - arguing loudly in staff meetings, spreading vicious gossip, even threatening each other with bodily harm. He was tired of these disruptions, but so far his reprimands had not worked. Finally, he blew up in a staff meeting, called them both idiots, and suggested they go back to the sandbox where they belonged. Phil immediately made a call to Human Resources, and the manager ended up with a reprimand.

Don't let it happen to you! What did this manager do wrong? He violated one of the crucial rules of employee relations - don't ever ridicule an employee, and don't discipline an employee in front of other people.

  • Save time and energy, reduce rework, and increase productivity with clear instructions and discussions.

An interesting episode - how a company solved an employee's dilemma:

A vice president of sales for an agricultural products company promoted a salesperson who handled regional accounts, mostly face to face, to the national division. Suddenly, her division started losing clients. He inquired after the matter with one of those clients, who told him that his new salesperson's letters and contracts contained numerous spelling and grammar errors. The client noted that running the letter through a spell check program was quick and easy, and that, surely, there were others who could proofread her work. If this attention to detail was unimportant to the salesperson, other details may be equally unimportant but much more damaging to his company. The vice president spoke to the salesperson, who explained that she had not done much writing in her former position. The company paid for her to take a business writing course. She is again a top salesperson.

  • Avoid needless arguments.
  • Reduce hurt feelings - yours and those of others.
  • Overcome paralyzing anger, fear, or shyness.
  • Respond to feedback and criticism appropriately.
  • Give more constructive criticism.

Photo 23255If you want to offer a different opinion, don't just say, "Sharon, you're wrong. If you took time to read the report, you'd understand." Better to avoid a confrontation and harsh words by not using the accusatory "you" and gently pointing out another point-of-view. You may say instead: "Sharon's point about our on-time delivery record is interesting. I was reviewing last year's customer service survey yesterday, and it pointed out a different reason why our delivery record may not be up to par."

  • Solicit helpful advice.
  • Give the kind of advice others can really use.
  • Negotiate for what you want without diminishing the other person.
  • Win more cooperation when others' response is voluntary.
  • Stand firm on your opinions without giving offense.
  • Give and accept appropriate praise and compliments.

Another episode - how not to do it:

An assistant professor recently received tenure and promotion to associate professor. His chair, who had been made full professor the previous year, complimented him as follows: "Congratulations on getting tenure. Of course, being named full professor is better."

So, bear in mind to always compliment politely, precisely, promptly and publicly.

  • Manage your own conflicts without escalating them.
  • Mediate others' conflicts without getting burned yourself.
  • Exercise more power over decisions affecting you.
  • Influence and motivate others without strong-arm tactics.
  • Find ways to "work around" difficult personalities.
  • Generate enthusiasm for your ideas and proposals.
  • Receive more invitations to accept leadership roles on committees.
  • Receive more invitations to speak publicly to influence others.
  • Increase your own and others' job satisfaction.
  • "Pick other people's brains" profitably: ideas, experiences, habits, attitudes, and hard-core facts.
  • Broaden your network of friends.
  • Build your self-esteem by learning to be assertive.
  • Defend your rights without manipulating or offending others.
  • Handle insults, sarcasm, or other verbal abuse with style.
  • Reduce your fear of vulnerability and decrease feelings of loneliness.
  • Listen better so that others feel understood and valued.
  • Generate meaningful or entertaining conversations.
  • Reduce cross-gender conflicts because of style differences and understand meanings from those of other cultures.

An interesting episode - how not to do it:

Amanda, a sales representative from the US, was visiting Spain to train the sales force there. After several days of enduring mid-morning arrivals and long lunches, Amanda lost her temper. "You need to learn that you can't just waste all this time every day," she told the sales team. "If you're so lazy that you can't get here by 8:30 and get back from lunch in an hour, you're all fired." Amanda's mistake was in believing that the company culture she was used to - starting early, eating lunch at one's desk, and working through the afternoon with no breaks - was superior. Not wanting to lose their jobs, the employees played by her rules the next day. As soon as she left Madrid, however, they resumed their standard procedures - and never gained any respect for Amanda.

  • Improve your physical health by reducing stress caused by misunderstandings.
  • Improve your mental health by growing as a person and developing more supportive relationships.
  • Lead others to mutual benefits and goals.

Always remember that the person who is able to draw people into conversations, introduce interesting topics, and make everyone comfortable is appreciated in all situations, business and social. Having good communication skills is an art that can be learnt.

Last but not least, have a look at the following videos in which miscommunication can lead to funny outcomes.
2. http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=BQyLKzLLbDo
3. http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=1-w5XNwHdGw

Image credits:
antony mayfield, clairity, dospaz, laffy4k

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