Thank you all for the feedback about my communication chapter from my productivity book to far. I much appreciate your input.
There is a part I like to touch on which I call non-verbal communication. Reading people. I have read many books in relation to that and found only one sentence helpful which I remember as: “If someone sits on a swivel chair, turns to the side, crosses his legs and shows you the side of his body, he might not be interested in you or your conversation. Or, he just thought of something and got into a more comfortable position whilst talking to you”.
Body language is down to individuals. I often play with my beard or stretch my legs to feel sensation in them. That does not mean my head is switched off or I am not listening. I am just being comfortable. However, if you do not look into someone’s eyes, or staring can be both off putting or supporting your self confidence if you do not overdo it. Hence shy people who usually do not like looking at someone, do not always make the best sales people. And, I believe you can tell if someone overcame shyness at some stage in their life too. There are a few things I just refer you to the literature where you should be careful of avoiding gestures in a conversation or meeting. Like if you cross your arms you can be comfortable or protective, defensive even. I believe the most known one is showing the bottom of your foot (sole of your shoe) to someone in the Middle East. It is an insult as the sole is already on the ground and the other person is suggested to be even lower. Again it goes in line with cultural differences.
Whilst in the UK it is common to have a drink with a colleague or business partner prior to closing the deal, in other countries you would never socialise with a business partner nor drink with one. In the US you either drink at conferences, but for lunches it is more uncommon as most people have to drive and it is less socially acceptable. Germany serves alcohol free beer at most events, so you don’t have to drink but can be part of the “drinking community”. Each to their own.
One last point to mention is internal communication within organisations. Time zone differences, the above mentioned language differences and internal politics often make it difficult to communicate. An important factor is to find out what your boss wants to hear, who the key influencers are internally and how you can address challenges with them. Make sure you got the right reporting structure and deliver any required information on time. Also, key is to have all the information ready for your boss whenever he asks. Attention to detail. Whether those are the latest figures or your opinion on the market. Some people would summarise it as managing up and across. You need to manage your manager, manage up to him and across to other key stakeholders in the process.
I have seen more than once that communication breaks down and that people do not realise that they talk past each other. The results can be lethal or damaging for the company and its culture. Hence it is more than important to give people room to manoeuvre, understand requirements, listen to your boss and set up a process that fits within the organisation.
And maybe my last personal tip on communication in the workplace? Summarise your pay review, important meetings with clients, miles stones with employers or employees in an email. Sometimes it makes sense to bcc yourself and keep that email for your records. Send it as a follow up, almost like a recording of what has been discussed.
I hope that you enjoyed these four weeks sharing my communication chapter of my productivity and personal development book. There are so many more things to speak about and talk about and show in regards to communication. Some little cultural things, some about how to impress someone with using a white board versus powerpoint/keynote and how to show confidence by doing so. Most probably I should write a chapter about how to communicate your sales pitch confident and successfully. Negotiation could fill a whole other book.
That is for some other time. For now enjoy communication, practise some of the ideas, make yourself consciously aware and maybe look up some basic conversation rules, like how to build rapport or how to come across confident in meetings.
Best of luck and as always, please leave more comments and let me know what you think. Let me know which bits you want me to focus on more.
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