We are fortunate to host a guest blog from communication expert Paul Dominguez. His post challenges us all to take a closer look at our communication habits. Read to learn three habits that are sure to improve your effectiveness in communicating with others.
Guest blogger: Paul Dominguez
One of the most costly issues facing businesses large and small is the loss of productivity due to unclear or incomplete instructions, misunderstanding, resistance to what someone else is saying and effort wasted working on the wrong things. It has been estimated that the lack of clear communication costs, on average, 25% to 30% of an organization's time. This translates into a significant amount of lost revenue, time and effectiveness in fulfilling the corporate initiatives.
There is something fundamental operating in the background for every human being. We are "speaking driven." We have to get our point across. How often do you interrupt someone talking? Or they interrupt you? The next time you’re in a meeting, listen for how often people talk over one another, and you will begin to see my point.
As an executive coach, I design communication programs to impact the effectiveness of business teams. When teams shift from being “speaking driven” to "listening driven," productivity begins to increase almost immediately. This shift, however, requires a transformation in how people speak and listen to each other.
We live in this illusion that people are hearing everything we are saying exactly as we said it. Even knowing that those we’re speaking to do not really hear everything we’re saying will not alter the outcome. To change these communication dynamics, you have to uncover the current communication paradigm to see what is "driving" your need to speak. Opening this up will give you a huge insight into the breakdowns in your communication with others.
In creating a new communication paradigm for business, a new way of communicating opens up, which allows you to significantly increase your effectiveness by being "listening driven." This new communication paradigm allows for velocity, simplicity and confidence in knowing that what you said has landed with the listener, resulting in a significant increase in your communication effectiveness.
Here are three ways you can begin to practice being more “listening driven” in your communication:
1. Get really interested in what the other person is saying and let go of the thoughts you are having about what they are saying. When you do this, you’ll find you have more questions about what they are saying than an understanding of what they are saying from your perspective.
2. Keep constant eye contact. Think about really being with the other person just listening. Our mind is always trying to figure out what they're saying so we can respond.
3. When the person is done talking, see if you can say back exactly what the other person just said to you without anything added, omitted or interpreted. When you can, you’re far more “listening driven.”
When a team of people are developed in this new communication paradigm, the dynamics move to real teamwork, velocity, coordinated action and a profound relatedness that comes from honoring each other for their strengths. Being "listening driven" as a group, allows for unforeseen possibilities to arise from a conversation, which will impact your business initiatives.
Paul Dominguez is a business consultant and executive coach who has trained hundreds of teams and countless employees and executives in developing the art of communication to drive positive results for businesses large and small.