Want to have better relationships? What small steps can we take today?
Welcome to another edition of Keep Developing!
With Christmas and New Year, one of the things that struck me was how well we communicate with each other. In my training we talk a lot about relating with people, gaining support, and clarifying what (who) is important. Communication is key to building relationships.
Communicate? I do that…don’t I?
Communication is the grease of life. If we fail to communicate or communicate ineffectually, our relationships suffer, our quality drops and our results don’t meet expectations.
Yet we communicate every day in every way. We have more devices to communicate with than ever and these tools have sped up the process so we can catch anyone, anywhere – home phone, mobile phone, work phone, pager, home email, work email, SMS, messaging, online forums, …there are even more! So, how come ‘we’ are notoriously lousy at communicating?
Speed is one of the key issues.
Emails and texts and phone calls are so quick and easy to use yet in our rush to send a message we often ‘say’ things we don’t mean. No matter how many emoticons we use, the person at the other end of email and text has no context or reference to adequately interpret your intent. And we’re forever in a rush, at least those of us in the cities always seem to be, so we don’t seem to have time to convey a specific meaning much less think about how a person may receive our messages.
On the other hand, because we feel so pressured these days we end up time poor. After busting your boiler at the office all day, sometimes, the last thing you have the energy for is yet another conversation once you get home. Ringing or calling in to see family and friends is a struggle. Or time slips by and before you know it it’s weeks and months since you’ve been in contact. And you wonder why you haven’t heard from them!
Then there’s the ‘me’ syndrome – some argue our society spends too much time focussed on ourselves to the detriment of relationships with others. In Springboard we focus on ‘me time’ because so many working women with family responsibilities and work don’t have much time left for themselves. It’s about balancing the time we need for ourselves to better serve others and accepting the consequences of any decisions we make day-to-day.
Either master it or become a slave to it and see it rob you of what you value. If communicating with people is important, and it needs to be for a healthy emotional and social life, then schedule contact times with important people in to your day. (If you are a team leader, that includes plugging time in your diary at least once a month to have a real discussion with your individual team members, maybe even over coffee). When you make that time available and use it, give that person your full attention. It’s so obvious sometimes when someone isn’t genuine with you. You can see they are ‘going through the motions’ and thinking about what they have to do after they see you. Don’t be known as that person. Give people who are important in your life, and work, quality time (I was so trying not to use that word!).
Take time now to jot down the person who first comes to mind when you think of someone you haven’t been communicating enough with lately. Now, commit to contacting that person and schedule it in. You’re on your way to improving the relationships you have!
Copyright 2005. Melanie Wass is a Trainer, Coach and Speaker. With significant experience across human resource management, development and consulting Melanie is Principal Consultant with Natural Consulting, a results-focused training and development practice. Her work focuses on managing relationships at work through team development, leadership enhancement and a range of other programs. Melanie is available through www.naturalconsulting.com.au
- I don’t have the stats on this but I’m pretty sure they are huge. At this time of year, lots of people are wondering how they’ll pay for Christmas. How can we help others? Maybe a cash donation to St Vincent’s? Donate some food or quality items to the Sallies? Perhaps volunteer to help one hour a month at Mission Australia? Take time to count our blessings and acknowledge those who are in shorter supply.
- Here’s a review of a book that explores the myth that women have equal pay. Getting Even: Why Women Don’t Get Paid Like Men, and What to Do About It by Evelyn Murphy and E. J. Graff, Simon & Schuster, 2005. Click here to read. It provides a call to action to further reduce inequality. Buy the Kindle version here.
‘Til next time,
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© Melanie Wass, Natural Consulting. ABN 95 039 757 541 All rights reserved.