After viewing this short video, identify some strengths of your speaking style? But also, consider what are your weaknesses and why? What could you do to improve how you verbally deliver a message? Only when we become cognizant of our strengths and weaknesses can we fully leverage our strengths and mitigate our weaknesses (Cardon, 2014).
Though most of us communicate verbally in a variety of contexts (i.e. work, home, school) we often fail to communicate effectively. I challenge each of you to critically assess how many times the wrong message is received by you or your targeted audience. Evaluate how many dysfunctional communications you are a part of or hear around you; not necessarily between just you and others, but also amongst your peers, managers, children, etc.
Take into consideration that communication has been deemed a key skill for managing effectively, amassing power and influence, and for increasing one’s value with regard to pay and compensation (Cardon, 2014; Gallo, 2015). As such, what could you do to improve your verbal communication? I suggest you start with the following:
- Keep a journal and track the miscommunications you are either directly or indirectly a part of — even if the communication did not initiate from you, keep in mind you may have been a partner in the communication exchange.
- When you have some time to contemplate, refer to your notes and evaluate how the communication exchange progressed and identify the point at which the communication lapsed. What was said; or for that matter, what was not said? What happened in your environment that may have distracted someone in the exchange?
- Identify what you could have done to alleviate the miscommunication. Could you have listened better or spoken faster or slower? Maybe as the video narrator suggested, could you have watched for the signs of disengagement from the conversation? Or maybe even given silence a chance (a pause in the conversation time to make your point for you). Perhaps you could have chosen a better location for the dialog to occur without interference.
Although verbal communication is the richest medium by which we can exchange thoughts and ideas, it is easy to loose your listener’s attention or be distracted unless a conscious effort is made to manage our communications effectively.