7 Myths about Effective Communications – what does “Good Communication Skills” mean anyway?

May 23, 2007 1:02 pm 0 comments

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A lot of you must have seen ‘good communication skill’ in almost all of the job ads that appear. I would like to say a few words on this very needed but missing trait.

Communicating effectively is extremely important to get your work any recognition. If you have been doing extraordinary work but not communicating effectively, chances are somebody doing less work but doing better communication will get ahead of you.

So what is effective communication? Here are some mis-conceptions you might want to consider:

  • English skills should be good for doing effective communication. The fact is, English — though required — is not the need for this. If you are communicating with your immediate managers who are locally placed then English is of secondary concern. Try to communicate with them first.
  • Communication means writing an email or sending some official document. Communication does not only mean putting something in black and white. A verbal status of your progress to your manager is also communication. You should think before you communicate verbally. Anything you say can have an effect.
  • I can communicate whenever I feel like it. Unless its an emergency or some thing which can have immediate affect (we usually call them show-stoppers) wait for an appropriate time. Call your managers, and ask them when they will be free to listen. In this way your word will have its worth and attention it desires.
  • I shouldn’t tell my managers of problems — that’s bad communication. Don’t delay critical news — too late and it can be disastrous if you are stuck in some thing and don’t see a solution. Talk to your Manager immediately. Don’t go to him after two days and say “I have been stuck in the milestone because the program was not behaving correctly etc.” In any such case, talking to your seniors can often help because chances are they might be able to help you out. Don’t assume that your technical abilities will be undermined.
  • I should only tell my Managers Bad Results or Good Results — thats what they are there for. This is perhaps most important — keep all stakeholders informed periodically of your progress. This is the most required trait , especially if you are communicating with someone in another office, offshore or offsite. Sending a daily status update in any form of communication is good.
  • Sometimes I forget to tell my Managers that I’m not coming – thats ok, they will find out anyway. If you are not going to make it to office, call your managers and let them know in advance. Don’t wait for them to call you. It will leave a good impression, whereas if they have to call you that leaves a permanent bad impression.
  • If I can make it to that meeting, great — but otherwise they will be able to adjust if I don’t show up. If you are not sure of your availability for some meeting, let the meeting organizer know in advance that your “attendance is tentative due to xyz reason”. Maybe they can reschedule. Don’t hope that they can continue without you or your other appointment may vanish.

A lot of these need not to be applied to professional life only. If you are good in communications, this trait is helpful in personal life also.

Before going to a friend’s house it is always good to inform in advance so they prepare. If you are late in some meeting or family gathering, let them know — don’t leave them guessing.

With mobile phones in everyone’s hand this is not too difficult — just needs two minutes and the benefits are huge.

Also, if you are not going on a planned gathering, call and let them know in advance — don’t wait till last minute.  Some of these things seem very trivial but in critical times they become frustrating and cause a lot of damage.

So be proactive in your communication. Be happy to talk to others — be open, verbal, known.

In communications, more is always preferred then less.

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