Best Practice Interpersonal Skills for the Fast-Paced Digital Age
Have you noticed yourself, your team or your organization
- Relying more on technology but less on each other?
- Unable to address and resolve conflict and manage challenging relationships?
- Lacking flexibility in working with people who are different than you?
- Exhibiting poor listening skills that cause confusion rather than clarity?
- Displaying discomfort when speaking at meetings or verbally communicating ideas?
Excellent interpersonal communication skills are the most potent career and personal skills you can have in business. Yet in the digital age where so much of our communication is conveyed via emails, 140 word tweets or text messages we are losing our interpersonal communication acumen.
With the advance of technology, it’s important to remember there are two types of skill sets that must be present in a successful corporation: hard skills and soft skills.
Hard skills are skills like learning about and how to effectively leverage communications services like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, word processors, image editing software, texting, video conferencing, etc.. These are very useful and important skills to develop, maintain, and continually advance.
Soft skills include the other side of communication – the interpersonal skills that are needed to communicate confidently, effectively, and efficiently with other people. These skills are absolutely every bit as important to continually develop and maintain in your company’s team. Just like you would ensure everyone was properly trained on the newest program – and then given updates and refresher training along the way later on – the same needs to be done for communication skills.
A number of communication breakdowns can occur when we increase our technological use, platforms, and frequency, but don’t similarly strive to advance and increase our interpersonal skills in this technological age.
Bad Communication Derails Success
When bad communication is present in the workplace, a number of negative effects can occur. Rather than being productive in a cooperative setting, people are more likely to get hung up on the need to be right, or generally just more selfishly motivated. Teamwork breaks down. Bad communication can devolve into passive-aggressiveness, where not only are good things not getting done, but a very negative, underhanded undertone begins to seep into the workplace and the morale of the people there.
Many times when management in particular isn’t professionally and properly trained in good communication skills and strategies, they can really struggle with communicating negative news or unpopular policies, changes, or messages, and the rest of the team has much more difficulty responding well to it than they otherwise may have.
People who aren’t trained properly in communication may not be aware of problems they have with tone, body language, negative or passive language, vague or unclear language, and listening skills. Many times people think they are great listeners, not realizing the nuances of truly good listening.
This can result in having to go back over and over, clarifying directions, clearing up confusion, trying to make people understand the point that is trying to be made or the work that needs to be done. Signals can be misread, misinterpretation and simple errors that lead to major problems can happen, even in the best-intentioned situations with the best-intentioned people.
Quality professional communication training can go a long way, not just in addressing these issues but in paving the way for a positive outcome on many others. There is a lot involved in good communication, much more than talking or listening.
For many people, when they hear “communication” what comes to mind is verbal communication, which is of course what we say to people. But just because you’re saying the words doesn’t necessarily mean you’re communicating your message clearly, or in a way that the person you wish to receive your message will “get” it. This isn’t because the other person is not-so-smart, or is being difficult. There’s a lot more to it.
Non-verbal communication – what we are communicating without words, such as with body language – is an enormous factor in every interaction between people. If you are not aware of the signals that you are sending, or if you’re not attuned to those that the other person is sending, a lot of miscommunication and missed cues can occur, resulting in poor communication and less effective results.
In that respect, listening skills – how we interpret the messages sent to us by others both verbally and non-verbally – are important to be aware of and actively, continually strive to refine. It is vital to recognize that there is a big difference between hearing and listening. There are active listening techniques that you can learn and employ when interacting with people in the workplace – from customers to coworkers, to your managers and executive team – that will smooth the way for better, clearer, more positive communication in your company. These aren’t just natural skills that people automatically have or don’t have; they can be taught, and need to be.
Beyond that, there are also techniques that can be applied to enhance and strengthen your employees’ negotiation skills, problem-solving skills, decision-making skills, assertiveness skills, and more.
How We Can Help: Core Communication for the Digital Age
In Core Communication we help businesses, teams and individuals build their interpersonal skills in a way that sets them apart and creates a marketable advantage.
During this interactive workshop, you will learn to
- Understand your communication style and work well with styles different from you
- Manage conflict effectively
Master the non-verbals of effective communication
- Actively listen
- Speak powerfully by incorporating 10 leadership language best practices
- Adopt an assertive style – the ultimate in professionalism
Features include detailed workbook, interactive exercises, and the creation of a personal action plan for improvement.
Core Communication can be booked as a 1/2 day workshop or full day seminar. Private coaching is also available.