Fostering Relationships: 10 Ways to Weaken Communication

The following 10 actions weaken our ability to communicate openly and honestly with each other - particularly in a work and/or team environment. For each of the 10, there is a solution (which is really just the opposite of the weak action.)

1. Talking bad about someone not present
Stephen Covey says a great way to build trust with people is to talk up about people not present.

2. Talking about problems without offering solutions
This not only doesn't help anything, it also encourages people to avoid having meaningful conversations with you.

3. Asking for advice and not listening
If you really don't want their opinion or ideas, don't ask.

4. Not seeking clarity
The Alpha and Omega of great communication is clarity. Seek it out at all cost.

5. Telling a lie
It is amazing how simple and equally difficult this is to not do. Read this post to put some framework to why you do it.

6. Avoiding a difficult conversation
Make a commitment to your relationships and make the difficult chats happen. When done properly (measured emotion, authentic feelings, mutual respect, separation of behavior and person, etc.) the upsides greatly outweigh the downsides.

7. Criticizing in public
Encourage in public. Praise unreasonably. Only criticize if you have been asked (from a peer) or if it is part of a feedback session (if you are a supervisor/manager/etc.).

8. Talking in generalities
Like clarity, being specific and concrete in your comments strengthens your ability to communicate effectively.

9. Not meeting regularly
Inertia sets in and we lose track of time. Take time to meet (formally or informally) with your team mates, class mates, spouse, children, etc. and don't do anything but talk about how things are going.

10. Being too self-focused
No matter the communication context (one-on-one, public venue, marketing brochure, etc.), being audience-focused is vital and enabling. Think before you talk. Consider how they will recieve it. Put yourself in their shoes.


Anonymous said...

Hello, I was at your presentation last week for HOSA and Skills USA in Madison WI and was wondering about the slide presentation you gave - you had said there would be a link to download it on your blog? I would love to share it with my students!

Kathy - kmwestrich@yahoo.com

Iola said...

This is great!