Communication – don’t just hear, listen

bookAn A-Z Introduction to Ethic’onomics
(excerpts from the highly acclaimed first book from Philip A Birch, ‘An A-Z Introduction to Ethic’onomics; principles and practices of ethical business for the 21st century’.)

Each month the 3rdi magazine has been provided with exclusive rights to issue 1 topic from this book which, in it’s entirety, contains over 100 principles and practices for the enlightened thinkers, ethical leaders, business pioneers and change agents.

As perfectly captioned by the late, great social campaigner, MP and peer, the Rt Hon. Lord Ashley,
“I think it is a splendid piece of work and deserves high praise not just because of the way it is written but also because it tackles an old subject in a fresh way. All too often the moral case goes by the board but it may well be that you have started a new way of approaching the dry subject of economics.”

The 3rd in a series of 26, this month I have selected communication from The A-Z of Ethiconomics. This may be particularly relevant to at this time of year, your having just posted your Christmas cards to long ‘lost’ relatives and friends and, quite possibly, feeling a little miffed if you didn’t get one back!

Well, the following may help to remind you that you can only be responsible for your own communications but responsible you must be! How your messages are received and, usually the intention, acted upon, is down solely and completely to the receiver. The next best tip I can give to you; listen. Don’t just hear; listen!

a process of transferring information from one entity to another
the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs
The role of communication is quite clearly paramount to personal success; indeed, many scientists argue that it was the ability to communicate to others that drove the surge in human evolution. The ability to convey messages, including your mission, strategies, tasks, targets, terms, statistics and feedback, within business, are as important as conveying your personal opinions, observations, thoughts and desires outside of the work environment.
“The five essential entrepreneurial skills for success are concentration, discrimination, organisation, innovation and communication.”
Michael Faraday
So it is with effective communication that we seek to impart knowledge, information and instruction. Effective communication is vital to success.
“To effectively communicate, we must realise that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.”
Tony Robbins
Whilst we all communicate almost incessantly, it is worth quickly reviewing the component aspects of communication because there are two key points that I wish to focus upon. Firstly that communication is not all verbal and secondly that it is a two-way process. You must listen as well as speak. For my part I never learned anything new by talking myself.
So, how is our communication received irrespective of how we think that we have delivered it? Well, Albert Mehrabian (UCLA, 1967) (24) identified three major parts that convey meaning in human face to face communication
7% of message pertaining to feelings and attitudes is in the words that are spoken.
38% of message pertaining to feelings and attitudes is paralinguistic (the way that the words are said).
55% of message pertaining to feelings and attitudes is in facial expression.
It is not just what you say; it’s the way that you say it
“Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you know.”
Jim Rohn
It accepts that the content of your communication, the words form just a part of the message, the way in which you deliver it, the emotion, posture, tone are just, if not more, important to make it most effective. (see Authenticity).
In turning to the second point, it is as important, some would argue more so, to listen as well as speak.
“But communication is two-sided – vital and profound communication makes demands also on those who are to receive it… demands in the sense of concentration, of genuine effort to receive what is being communicated.”
Roger Sessions
Communication is a social skill. It is a personal skill. It is a business skill. Thankfully, because it is a skill it can be learned, and I strongly recommend that you include improvement of communication skills in any project of change and development – as an intrinsic element of a continuous improvement plan. (see Change, Continuous Improvement, Leadership, Management)
Undoubtedly communication in the modern world is possible, more quickly, across more distance, and to more people than ever before. The internet and the world wide web have effectively eliminated the need for delay in transferring information. What they have more difficulty in doing, at least at the moment, is in conveying the main two elements of communication (according to Albert Mehrabian at least); those of body language and tone. Emails struggle with these components as they cannot provide any visual accompaniment or context to the words. (Yes I accept that video technology is increasing and becoming more financially accessible but emails do still form the vast majority of internet communications today.)
If you want to succeed, in business, or in life in general, you will have to learn the art of effective communication. If you cannot convey your thoughts, feelings, passions and ideas then how is anybody supposed to be influenced by them?
We here at the 3rdi are passionate about communication. Our product is a communication tool and medium. One of our key objectives is to help you to communicate with like-minds and souls so . . . . ow do you communicate with us? We are listening.
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