4 P’s to Competent Communication

Consider the following effective practices to put into place to become a more competent and persuasive communicator personally and professionally:

  1. Pause – Excellent communication starts with stopping first. There are great rewards for avoiding knee-jerk reactions. They call them “knee-jerk” because a lot of times a jerk is exactly how you feel afterwards… Pausing gives you more time (to perceive and predict) which often gives you more options (before you proceed).
  2. Perceive – The additional time that pausing produces affords you more opportunity to truly “see” what is happening in the moment. It’s to your benefit to look beyond the surface; to look just underneath the obvious. Heightened perception often leads to new perspectives that help to better (predict) how best (to proceed).
  3. Predict – Next, ask yourself: “What’s happened just before, or is likely to happen just after this encounter?” Educated predictions about pertinent circumstances or situations leading up to, and/or following your interactions result from first (pausing) and then (perceiving).
  4. Proceed – Once you’ve taken an extra second or two to (pause), sought to really “see” (perceive) the nuances, surmised (predict) what came before and what may come next, it’s now time to take the next step (proceed). Executing the first three P’s FIRST, now position you to make the best decisions and the smartest moves next.

A lot of people do this backwards. When interacting with others they often jump right to #4. They first react and proceed impulsively, and only then do they pause, perceive, and predict how to undo what they did… after the fact.

This cycle then becomes a vicious circle starting over again and again… producing similar results.

To avoid this, the most competent and persuasive communicators are proactive rather than reactive.

Proactive communication requires employing the 4 P’s in order ongoing, within every interaction.

Try it.

Doing so has the potential to make the world a better place one interaction at a time…

Stay tuned-in…

Click HERE for info on my Communichology course.

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The Opposite of Knee-Jerk

stimulus-response

Stimulus = what happens to us. Response = what we do next. The “freedom” in between as the picture here illustrates also goes by another name called “communication skills.” And there’s a “big ass gap” between those who are good at this stuff, and those who only think they are.

Consider this:

It’s estimated that 14% of each work week is wasted as a result of poor communication. Miscommunication is estimated to cost an organization 25%-40% of its annual budget. (Linchpin Learning)

According to David Grossman’s research, CEO of Chicago’s The Grossman Group communications consultancy, the plethora of data that’s out there highlights the extremely high costs of poor communication skills for businesses:

“$37 billion total estimated cost of employee misunderstanding in 100,000-employee companies (average cost per company is $62.4 million per year). $26,041 cumulative cost per worker per year due to productivity losses resulting from communications barriers.”

But, the converse is equally noteworthy. Grossman’s data goes on to highlight the financial upside of communicational excellence in the corporate world:

“Companies that have leaders who are highly effective communicators had 47% higher total returns to shareholders over the last five years compared with firms that have leaders who are the least effective. Best Buy found that higher employee engagement scores led to better store performance… individual stores saw a $100,000 increase in operating income annually.”

Holy hell right?! This data and these statistics are external validation for the following…

Yeah, there’s lots of training on “communication skills” out there. There’s no shortage of books and seminars on the subject. But why? As the statistics above make clear, there’s a HUGE NEED for it, that’s why. Anything out there in great abundance is there because there’s demand for it; there’s a market for it. But why is a lot of “communications training” only short-lived at best or ineffective at worst? Because most training resources out there only focus on the “what and how” to enhance communication skills. The critical pieces that are left out is not helping people understand the “why” these skills are often lacking in the first place, and why it’s important to THEM to understand and apply these skills to their day-to-day lives ongoing.

This is where my stuff is different. I dig into the “why” you not only need to, but have to WANT to care about this stuff. Once the why is first, the what and how become much more attainble long-term. Big difference. It’s about the psychology underneath the communication skills… in that order.

Welcome to my world…

Anything less than “Yes, my communcation skills could and should improve,” is evidence of the opposite.

Our knee-jerk reactions are those gutteral, instinctive, evolutionary impulses that lean toward the fight or flight survival responses birthed from the amygdala deep within our “old brain.” That’s why we “snap” or “put our foot in our mouth” or say things like “that came out wrong” or “that’s not what I meant” or any other trite phrase that means: “Sorry, I just blew it.”

That’s why everyone needs great communications training. That’s why everyone can benefit from ongoing awareness of the subtleties of great communication. That’s why anyone who claims they’re exempt from this, are often the ones who need it most.

To become the best communicator you can be requires you to start “seeing things” in a figurative sense. It requires an acute awareness that allows you to miss less than most. It requires a heightened understanding of common human psychology that drives, and can predict most behavior. It requires you start considering facts over your feelings. It requires you making a conscious decision to learn to widen the gap between stimulus, and your responses. It requires you to become a student of emotional intelligence and social intelligences that separate the A players from the B players.

Understanding your audience’s psychology first helps you decide how you could and should respond to their communication second. You cannot change them, but you can change how you choose to react in response to them. This is for your, and their best benefit.

So much of this is the opposite of our typical knee-jerk tendencies and reactions. This is hard work which is why most don’t do it. It’s not necessarily a matter of ability, but of willingness. It requires a certain amount of humility and risk to truly embrace this process and improve. It requires people to pull their heads of their assess, and stop being so completely and utterly self-absorbed so much of the time. It requires the active consideration of others’ feelings, perspectives, and points-of-view. The benefits far outweigh the work, but oftentimes are not immediately evident.

There’s a definite amount of delayed gratification involved here. Patience, another great, but often overlooked communication skill, is necessary. In our fast-paced, hustle and bustle, I want it now society, patience and delayed gratification are foreign concepts to many. Master Communichologists embrace these things proactively, and advance where most others only stagnate.

YOU need this stuff most if you:

  • Feel this is all just common sense.
  • Feel that you’re already a good enough communicator.
  • Feel impatient considering all of this now, and this a waste of time.
  • Feel that “soft skills” are less important than technical skills.
  • Feel that how others feel is of no consequence to you.
  • Feel that thinking about feelings is stupid.
  • Feel the need to get on with it…

So, stop complaining, get pissed, and grow a pair – and drop your name (on the right) to get on my mailing list.

This is about the relentless pursuit of communicational excellence in all ways… always!

Stay tuned-in…

Click HERE for info on my Communichology course.

Get my articles and exclusive content with science-based insights to shiFt your communication from adequate to ass-kicking!


 

“Human Relations”… not-so-common-sense

For years, I taught a college course called “Human Relations.” It was always my favorite class to teach because the content blended principles of communication and psychology, and was the inspiration for many of my Communichology™ concepts going forward.

The course was often misunderstood at the outset by both students AND staff because the title is so obviously deceptive.

Many people zoomed right on by the significance of these two words, and therefore missed the power of the course and its many practical concepts and applications in day-to-day life. Further, this course and its content was often dismissed as “common sense.”

This stuff is easy to talk about, but difficult to do.

>> Human Relations = to relate (effectively) to other humans… pretty straight-forward right? Not necessarily…

Here’s where it gets tricky…

Effectively relating to others, and demonstrating empathy, requires us first to effectively relate to, and understand ourselves, honestly. Again, easy to say, hard to do… no small task for many, dare I say, MOST people.

This subject is as internal as it is external… just like looking in a mirror is both an internal and external exercise simultaneously. We first have to see ourselves, and then hopefully we will “see” ourselves. Without being truly in touch with ourselves first, we will be arguably less effective when dealing with others. Communication works if it’s worked.

The mirror has to reflect both ways. Many “get” this, but fail to really get into it fully.

It’s work. It’s often very difficult work. But it’s very necessary.

the shiFt: there are 3 steps in this journey:

  • Awareness – We first have to tune-in and begin to know > what we don’t know, or think we may know > but may be mistaken about our own psychology and communication skills.

To do: Admit that perception isn’t always reality, and begin owning both your good and not-so-good tendencies and habits.

  • Education – Next, we need to set about learning more about ourselves; about our blind spots… and about how our history, and our experiences shape the complex nuances of our interpersonal communications with others.

To do: Take a Human Relations-type course, workshop, or seminar >> or two, or three…

  • Application – Finally, we have to act on this awareness and education and begin an ongoing process of applying what we now know… now. Define and then refine and repeat.

To do: Practice at home and on the job; a lot. Strive to miss less than most.

Bottom Line:

Far more than just common sense, human relations is a critical skill set that can be developed provided the proper amounts of courage, honesty, and ongoing diligence are present. The importance of this discipline cannot be overstated.

Becoming a master of yourself affords you the opportunity to be masterful with others… in many kinds of situations, most of the time.

And who doesn’t stand to benefit from that?

Stay tuned-in…

Click HERE for info on my Communichology course.

Get my articles and exclusive content with science-based insights to shiFt your communication from adequate to ass-kicking!


 

Communication tRumps Qualifications

For years now I’ve been training and teaching that “communication skills” is THE premier skill set to master and possess. It’s more important than any other technical skills that you may have. It’s more important than letters after your name. It’s more important than a fat file stuffed with certifications, accolades, and endorsements.

Communication skills are the crème de la crème, and the king of all assets to obtain and deftly demonstrate as a functioning human being.

It’s tricky though, because in theory, most will agree with this assertion. But in practice, few consistently demonstrate the effective soft skills, at the high levels, they claim.

Don’t believe me? Just look around: at your place of employment, within your family dynamics, with your friends, at the corner gas station, or grocery store. Communication breakdowns are prevalent, even rampant, everywhere, all of the time. So it stands to reason, that we all can’t be as good at this shit as we think we are. If we were, we wouldn’t have the problems that we do… or at least the frequency and duration of them would be much less. But it’s not the case. According to an Inc. magazine article, it’s “estimated that communication barriers cost the average organization $62.4 million per year in lost productivity.”

But what some may see as communication barriers or breakdowns, others see as opportunities to circumvent the system. To get ahead. No matter the cost.

At a very basic level, but hardly basic in its execution, Donald Trump’s secret weapon was using strategic, persuasive, and clever communication skills to become the 45th President of the United States. Approximately, half or less of you reading this believe Donald Trump was not qualified to be the President of the United States. Sure, he’s been successful in business (depending on how one defines “success”), but that doesn’t qualify him to run a government, nor to be the figure-head of the free world. He’s proven that he does not possess the temperament, nor the appropriate kind of selfless communication skills to lead the nation diplomatically, and bring people together.

But here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter if he’s qualified or not. He was not the President because he was qualified to be, but because he executed both masterful, as well as mindless (and perhaps illegal) communication skills at the necessary times, in the necessary ways, to influence and move mass behavior in the necessary quantities. He used social media in ways never before seen by a sitting United States President. Some were aghast over it, while others reveled in it.

And this proves all I’ve ever said about communication and its affects on everything. And that is this:

Move others toward you with how you communicate, and what you are technically “qualified” to communicate… will matter much less.

It’s about influencing people to take action. Just because you may not like it, doesn’t make any less true. You see, communication trumps qualifications every time. Convincing enough people that you are qualified even if you aren’t, through strategic communication, is what qualifies you. It’s been happening throughout history. But the questions become how will this communication will be used?

And what side of history do YOU want be on?

Stay tuned-in…

Click HERE for info on my Communichology course.

Get my articles and exclusive content with science-based insights to shiFt your communication from adequate to ass-kicking!


 

Sixty-Nine (69)

How do you “come off” to others? What vibes do you send out? Ever really considered it? If not, you should.

These are simple questions that are often deceptively difficult to address objectively. A better question is how’s your “How?” This is asking if you’re truly aware of HOW your communication (verbal and nonverbal) is being received by others at any given moment. In-person, and online.

Missing social cues, misunderstanding social cues, or not caring about social cues are three BIG mistakes many make.

Some people are so drunk on their own self-delusion and self-centeredness, that they miss crucial social information happening around them. This “missing” negatively affects the quality of their interpersonal communication skills, and therefore, their outcomes in life. They’re figuratively blind to how negatively they come off to others many times. They’re then stunned when things don’t go their way personally or professionally.

Effective communication is chronically proclaimed as common sense, but its lack of demonstration is all-too-common. Everyone can benefit from a reminder to check yourself, and to check your ego. And then to make adjustments in the moment when necessary to appropriately and strategically conform to any situation to influence and affect your best outcomes.

Stay tuned-in…

Please share and click HERE for info on my Communichology course.

Get my articles and exclusive content with science-based insights to shiFt your communication from adequate to ass-kicking!


 

Thirty-Seven

37

In business, a good majority of a manager’s time, hell… in most occupations, or just life in general, is spent delivering bad news to people. It’s telling people what they need to hear, not just what they want to hear. It’s coming from a place of caring for versus caretaking. The idea is that if we truly “care” about a person, we will have the courage to share with them where they have opportunities to improve and grow; i.e. where they’re fucking falling short. Anything less is caretaking and harmful to them in the long run because caretaking people is really just enabling someone to stay stuck in mediocrity, or worse. We do this shit because we’re selfish. We don’t want people to get pissed at us for telling them the truth they don’t like, nor want to hear, so we don’t. We allow them to continue to wallow, all in the name of saving our own ass. It’s the coward’s way. I know because I’ve done it. You’ve done it. We’ve all done it.

As such, sharing hard truths with people is often as painful to send as it is to receive. But, how can a person expect to improve if they’re operating without the necessary knowledge of where they’re falling short? But this doesn’t have to be mean-spirited. In addition to delivering accurate and honest information intended to help, we also have a responsibility to deliver it in the proper way, at the proper time, for it to have the most impact. Most effective communication is as much about the “how” as it is about the “what”…

Stay tuned-in…


 

Thirty-Two

32

Do you give as much consideration to the reception of your communication as you do the sending of it?

Do you consider your wording (written or verbal) and its impact?

Do you consider your vocal tone (intended or unintended) and its impact?

Do you consider your intentional or unintentional body language communication and its impact?

Do you consider the timing of your communication and its impact?

Do you consider potential assumptions others are holding when in communication with them? Assumptions about you? Assumptions about the intention of your message?

Do you consider how your credibility is either enhanced or hurt with every single communication you send?

Do you care?

You should. 

If you don’t, then it’s good that you’re receiving this right now.

Read it again. And again, and again…

Stay tuned-in…