"If you can't convince them, confuse them."
--- Harry S. Truman
A very popular book for writers is one titled, "Eats, Shoots, and Leaves," by Lynne Truss that covers the proper use of words and punctuations used in proper places. The cover of the book includes a panda bear and the title is a play on words, making a point about using words properly. The book makes a great case of how we are losing good communication skills that could serve our business well. With various cultures, and at least four levels of generations creating their own language style, is it any wonder we communicate well at all?
Of all the business skills to learn, many experts agree that the skill of communication is the foundation for anything else we have to do. Whether it is hiring, buying, sales presentations, marketing, or advertising, good communications skills are critical for the survival of our businesses.
"Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair."
--- Yehuda Berg
It is obvious that we've all become extremely lazy in our communication. We rarely think about what we are going to say before we say it. We are in such a hurry to get our words in that we lose the focus of communication altogether. Filling the voids of silence becomes the goal instead of effectively communicating our message. But, the most successful business people are those who have mastered, or at least attempt to master, many forms of communication.
"Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people."
--- Jim Rohn
Give yourself the gift of communication in this second half of the year. Buy a few books on effective communication and apply the principles suggested. Join a local Toastmasters and fine-tune your approach to delivering a message. Work on mastering your letters, postcards, sales information, emails, proposals, and marketing materials by taking a half-day business writing class in your area. Learn to juggle verbs, adverbs, and nouns in a way that gets your message across to the recipients.
"Blessed is the man, who having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact."
--- George Elliot
Keep in mind that effective communication isn't just all in the delivery. Great communication is at least 50% of really listening. Napoleon Hill, personal success author, best known for his work, "Think and Grow Rich," recalled an encounter with a woman at a party. Hill said he sat and listened to her rant on and on about her worldly travels. Hill said he barely spoke a few words to the woman, only enough to acknowledge his understanding of her stories. The next day, Hill received a call from another friend who was at the party who said that the woman has been bragging endlessly about what a great conversationist Napoleon Hill is. Though he spoke little, he listened well and was thought to be a good communicator.
Listening is a skill that can be learned. It's been said that the reason we have two ears and one mouth is so we will listen more than we speak.
"Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something."