Communication is the backbone on which companies function. Good communication affects everything from team morale, to productivity and profitability. All too often, what we try to communicate gets lost in translation despite our best intentions. Bad communication habits often lead to misunderstandings that result in conflict and stress in the workplaces. Because good communication means your message is being sent and those receiving it clearly understand it, 99FM’s MYD Smart spoke to Gunter Martens, a Communication Coach, about the art of good communication.
“Communication connects people. This is how we express ourselves, how we transfer instructions, how we connect to each other.”
“Communication connects people. This is how we express ourselves, how we transfer instructions, how we connect to each other.” Explains Gunter who goes on to say that, “We grow up in a certain culture or with a certain conditioning, this affects how we communicate our whole lives. Often we are not aware of what we actually want to express and how.”
Fortunately, communication skills are something we can improve on, develop and learn. With these skills we are better able to connect with others, build trust and feel heard and understood.
Communication, Gunter explains, is a result of a need we wish to express, “every word I say or every action I take is coming from something inside me, something that I want to express.” With this in mind Gunter says we are better able to express ourselves clearly. Because communication is more than just an exchange of information, we become better equipped when we understand the emotions and intentions behind the information.
“I would say that the biggest difficulty in communication comes from the fact that we do not understand that Kirsty is in her own world there and I myself Gunter am in my own world. So now I say something that totally makes sense to me, but as it goes to Kirsty, it has a different meaning. We are not aware of this and we are not checking what’s happening in the other world. How am I being translated. We assume that people understood us.”
Not checking our communication constantly, can lead to many stumbling blocks. “This is where the misunderstanding comes in. Misunderstanding is a natural thing. We misunderstand each other continuously because we live in different worlds. To see this for yourself, try telling three people the same one sentence and ask them what they understand, and you’ll get three different answers.”
“You cannot assume that people understand you, the way you want them to understand you, except if you check back.”
This is why, Gunter explains, we need to evaluate with people what they understood us to be saying. “You cannot assume that people understand you, the way you want them to understand you, except if you check back. If you understand that there is misunderstanding all the time, then you can be more clear in what you want to express. Understanding depends on you, making yourself clear, knowing that there is another world you are communicating with, and if you want to get into that world you have to ask questions. Without checking that what you meant is being heard, conflict becomes a natural phenomena.”
“If you become clear on what is driving you to express something, then you can be even more clear about this. It’s basically becoming more conscious of yourselves, your motivations.”
Gunter notes that in addition to checking your message is being understood, for great communication to occur, we also need to understand our own needs as the communicator. “If you become clear on what is driving you to express something, then you can be even more clear about this. It’s basically becoming more conscious of yourselves, your motivations.”
All communication, Gunter explains, comes from needs that need to be expressed. When you understand what exactly you want to be expressed and why, you are able to adjust your message accordingly. “We often neglect feelings in communication, but we are human beings with feelings so if a feeling comes up in response to something somebody has said, this feeling tells us that we need something.”
“For me, this is something very important; if something scratches I try and express it. I try share what’s happening in my world and I do not point a finger at somebody else. I do not say, you cannot talk to me like this for example, because that is not taking responsibility for what is happening in my world. When we do this we give away our power. Then I allow you to make me angry, I become the puppet of the people around me instead of listening to my feelings, understanding myself and what need I want met in the situation.”
Effective communication acts as the glue that deepens your connections to others. With understanding our own motivations, and with constant checking that our messages are being correctly received, we are able to express, even difficult messages without destroying trust.
For more information about communication or to get in touch with Gunter, send an email to email@example.com
Written by Kirsty Watermeyer