Do you know the difference between talking and communicating? Talking is one-sided and can be a constant chatter, whereas communication is about active listening and response. Communication can shape narratives, build perspectives and influence the audience. It is not what you communicate but how you communicate that makes a difference. Communication professionals understand the criticality of proper, authentic, and relevant communication for brand building. However, intentionally or unintentionally we may end up making statements that are not in line with the company policy. How can we develop wisdom in communication to avoid misinformation, conflicts and reputational crisis?
Here are five ways of developing wisdom in communication and making long-term and sustainable relations.
Timing plays a vital role in communication. Wrong timing can ruin business plans and potential projects. Strategic discussion should happen at the right time and in the proper context. See that the external environment is conducive to conversation. Respect the time of others and avoid discussing controversial or sensitive topics when they are busy or in a bad mood. You might get an unpleasant response. Avoid discussing business strategies during month ends. You may not receive a favourable answer from people who are rushing to meet deadlines. It does not mean they are rude or insensitive towards you. They are too busy to entertain you. Not all communications require public disclosures. Certain discussions should be facilitated behind closed doors to ensure confidentiality of the matter.
Another way of developing wisdom in communication is to have transparent and honest communication. There is nothing wrong in having specific agendas or preferences. The problem arises when we indulge in manipulation or misinformation to influence opinions and get things done our way. Sometimes, we omit crucial information, twist facts or leave out an important point while presenting information. This is not a transparent communication and can jeopardise the credibility forever. Ensure that the information you present is authentic without any layers of perceptions and prejudices.
Gentle and Soft
Words have consequences and can impact relations in the long run. How you say things, tone, pitch and body language can influence recipients to react in a certain way. Straightforwardness is a good thing, but try to be politely straightforward. Avoid using abrasive, condescending, harsh and judgemental statements since they can be deeply painful for certain groups of people. Also, refrain from making personal comments or targeting a specific person or group while schooling the entire team. Allow people correct their mistakes rather than micromanaging them. Offer quality feedback as it offers a scope for improvement without hurting the sentiments of people. Be gentle and soft in your communication and develop empathy towards people around you.
Beneficial to Audience
Sometimes we turn aggressive in convincing our ideas without paying much attention to the needs and opinions of others. Communicate things that benefit your audience and can add value to their life. Identify their areas of concern and offer them solutions which help them resolve the issue rather than preaching your brand. Keep your message concise and to the point, and avoid beating around the bush.
The world has become polarised like never before. The divisions based on inclinations towards specific institutions and groups are visible. We often shun opinions which are not in our favour. This way, we discourage people from speaking their minds. Respect diverse schools of thought even if you do not resonate with them. Avoid prejudices based on political ideologies and beliefs. Be kind to people who disagree with you on an intellectual level and allow them to do so.
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