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…

Please share and 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…

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!


 

“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…

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!


 

Sixty

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Another key concept of Communichology™, and the second thing to get of the three “Gets” requires much effort that many refuse to do:

#2. Get more accurate information.

Don’t just settle on shit you’ve been spoon-fed your whole life. Challenge the status quo if it doesn’t ring true for you (anymore). Challenge your certainty. Ask lots of questions. Do objective research. Be open to, and internalize facts vs. fables.

Kill your confirmation bias by committing to intention-resignation. Fall out of love with your preconceived notions and inbred belief systems. Explore data that’s readily available today more than any other days about any subject under the sun.

This is honorable and noble. Collect. Perceive. Then decide. Get more accurate information.

<< #1… #3 >>

Stay tuned-in…


 

Thirty-Three

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8 Steps to Get What You Want:

  1. Know exactly what it is you’re after and why. More Clarity = Less Chaos. It doesn’t have to be just one thing, but it does have to be clearly your thing(s).
  2. Be sure that what you want is something you’re both passionate about, AND have a legitimate talent for. Passion only = a hobby. Talent only = a job. Both = a calling. Get honest, and don’t bullshit yourself.
  3. Be able to help solve others’ problems with your passion and talent. Everyone’s favorite subject is themselves. So, at the core, your offering has to be about them; not you.
  4. Be willing and able to consistently work extremely hard despite how you feel at any given moment. I don’t care what anyone says, working toward “success” is fucking hard work. Chuck the excuses, and DO the work required to kick ass.
  5. Be willing and able to consistently work extremely smart. Always be learning new strategies and implementing new ideas to get farther, faster. If you think you’ve arrived… you definitely haven’t.
  6. Master the art and science of Communichology™ by knowing when and how to speak up, when to shut up, and how to do both professionally and with integrity ongoing. Copious amounts of self-awareness, social and emotional intelligences are non-negotiable skills sets to seek and master.
  7. Be actively assessing where and what you need recovery from, and where you need to improve… and we all need it somewhere, sometimes. And then commit to doing what needs to be done to fucking overcome and rise above.
  8. Repeat #1-8.

Stay tuned-in…


 

Twenty-Two

22

The situation: When attempting to help or assist others, it’s simple: First, identify the problem; then provide a solution, right? Put another way: know their need, then give them what they want. Sounds simple, but it’s anything but…

The challenge: People want what they want over what they need. But when giving, most of us default to giving others what we think they need… not what they actually want. This is obviously produces a disconnect, and results in many communication breakdowns.

The shiFt: 1) Listen with the intent to hear what others really want. It often differs from what you think they need. You may be right, but attempting to force feed someone what they need vs. what they want is a dead-end road. Makes things worse most of the time. 2) You have to present what you know they need into a package that they believe they actually want. 3) Finally, you have to make it appear like the solution is actually their idea, not yours. How do you do this? It starts with demonstrating genuine empathy by doing much more asking of questions than telling. It must appear that your interest is more about them, and their plight, rather than your point-of-view. This is a process that requires masterful communication skills combined with a better than basic understanding of human psychology to pull off effectively ongoing.

Enter the science and art of Communichology™… Subscribe here.

Stay tuned-in…


 

Need It Most

I’m so sick of some people dismissing blog posts, talks or trainings on the so-called “soft skills” as simply “common sense.” Just because you may have read a few books or articles on communication and listening skills, or even attended a seminar or two over the years hardly qualifies you (or me, or anyone) as an expert on these all-important topics. If this information was so “common sensical,” then communication breakdowns would occur far less often than they do.

Question: What do you call common sense not applied? Answer: All-too-common.

In fact, I propose that those who are quickest to side-step this stuff (I call them the Tools) are those who need it most

Just because some content may seem to contain “nothing new under the sun” in your tiny world-view doesn’t mean the information is any less valuable or necessary. In fact, by directly saying, or implying that you “already know all this stuff” is evidence of the contrary. Truly skilled communicators would NEVER imply they know it all. In fact, they know the opposite. These are the 5%.

Great communicators never have to tell anyone that they are a great communicator… think about that. It’s unnecessary because it’s EVIDENT in their actions, words, and nonverbals.

Great communicators know how to deliver and receive bad news in a way that yields the best reception from their audience. The “my-way-or-the-highway” false bravado bullshit many spew is tired and transparent. There may well be “nothing new under the sun,” but this also includes those smug-asshat-types who bash and bemoan everything just to have an unoriginal voice.

The originality lies in the delivery; in the unique presentation of said information.

Is there anything that someone can possibly offer up that someone, somewhere else doesn’t already know? Probably not. So for all of you “it’s all just common sense” flag-wavers… please do the rest of us a favor and shut the hell up. Your pessimism contributes nothing, and therefore your opinion doesn’t matter. Your negative spew demonstrates both a lack of, and therefore a real need for the exact type of information that’s being presented.

You’ll never see it that way though. You’ll never admit it. You can’t. You’re incapable of the type of humility and honesty necessary for authentic self-reflection. You think that because you “tell it like it is” or “pull no punches” that your edginess is your greatness. It’s not. Or that you’re somehow more enlightened than everyone else. You’re not. You’re actually less so. This tough and gruff, unfiltered demeanor demonstrates a large lack of quality communication and listening skills at best, or a large lack of self-esteem and self-worth at worst. I’m betting on both in most cases.

Now, some of you will say: “I don’t give a shit what you think.” Those who continually claim to “not give a shit” – often give a shit the most. Why else waste time proclaiming it? To feel compelled to let others know that you “don’t give a shit” proves that you do. Because if you truly “don’t give a shit,” then you wouldn’t give a shit if anyone knew that fact or not.

To clarify: I love (helpful) people who say it like it is, and speak their truth. But then again, I hate (hurtful) people who do this at the same time…  So what’s the difference? I believe it comes down to one’s intentions; the motives underneath the behavior. This difference is THE difference. If the intent is to burn someone or something at the stake simply for sport, or because you’re threatened or disagreed with, then you’re a dick. You suck, and your outspokenness is hurtful and bad. These types are the ones who hide behind their rancor and their rants out of fear. If however your intent is to empower and embolden because you desire to make a difference and contribute, then you rock and your veracity is helpful and good. The difference is whether the endgame is adding positive, or adding negative into the world.

Defensive you say? Damn right I’m defensive, but not in the way you think…

I’m defending my right to speak my mind as well, and to call out the other side of this subject. The side that says you “know-it-all” types are the least knowing of all. I’m defending a position that few take, but needs to be taken more seriously, more often.

If you really think you’re a great communicator and don’t need to sharpen your human relations skills then DEMONSTRATE it by effectively communicating without alienating negatively. Can you do it? I don’t think so… but, I’ve always been an optimist so perhaps there’s still hope for you. Hell, maybe another “how-to” resource is right around the corner that will be just what the doctor ordered to enlighten you?

You see, I really do give a shit…

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!