Once again, gumptionable is a combination of conventional gumption with Gumption, and means being 100% personally responsible for your actions and interactions. Today we’ll examine the 7th of the 7 principles of being gumptionable: Initiate good communication.
From the original post on being gumptionable, here is how I described the principle: Initiate good Communication.
Communication is the act or process of interchanging thoughts, opinions, or information. To initiate is to begin, set in motion, or originate. To set in motion the exchange of ideas is selfless and generous and potentially productive.
Here are seven ideas you can use to initiate good communication at work or in your private life.
- Acknowledge the need. Life is a series of continuous communications. Acknowledging that we need to communicate continuously with our fellow human beings is the necessary first step to initiating good communication.
- Start with a purpose. Why are you communicating? I readily admit that sometimes a communication’s purpose is nothing more than the need to be heard. We all need to be heard. But the workplace and the world are not your personal psychologist’s couch. The workplace and the world are places that you contribute, add value, and make a difference. What is your purpose?
- Be positive. Think about a person you love to speak with and contrast that to the person you try to avoid. What is the main difference?
- There are no mulligans. In amateur golf, a player who hits a bad shot and then takes a second shot (but doesn’t count the first shot) is said to take a mulligan. In communication, you don’t get to not count what is first said. It’s out in the open. You can backtrack, attempt to explain, justify, or blame. You can eventually apologize but verbal gaffes can never be taken back. There are no mulligans in communication.
- Emotions rule the day. Be aware that most people will hear what they want to hear. And their hearing starts from their emotional need to satisfy what’s in it for me. We are all emotional creatures. Good communication always appeals to the emotions of others.
- Be a problem solver. Which of the following two questions would you rather receive from your coworker or spouse?
- Take 100% responsibility. Finally, your communication will more likely succeed if you take 100% responsibility for the outcome. Your communication will probably fall short if you hold back and wait for others to meet you in the middle – 50/50 doesn’t work as a communication technique.
Consider that every action gets started (and eventually accomplished) when you communicate with another person. And recognize that pretending not to communicate is its own form of communication (i.e., sulking, aloofness).
Are you committed to communicate with conviction?
So recognizing that you are singularly here on this planet to make a difference, consider that each and every one of your communications should start with an awareness of its intended purpose. And consider that the person you’re communicating with has their own purpose … respect their purpose when attempting to achieve yours.
Do you take a minimum of ten seconds before speaking to think about your intended purpose?
Most likely, the person you really enjoy communicating with leaves you energized and feeling better about yourself. Conversely, the person you want to avoid most likely sucks the energy from you and leaves you drained.
Does your communication with others leave them energized or drained?
The Indian spiritual leader Sri Sathya Sai Baba said, “Before you speak, think – Is it necessary? Is it true? Is it kind? Will it hurt anyone? Will it improve on the silence?”
Too often scientists and engineers are stereotyped as poor communicators. This likely has developed from their training that emphasizes facts and logic while discounting emotional appeals. To initiate good communication, a balance between the two must be present.
Is Star Trek’s Mr. Spock your role model, and possibly the reason your communication falls flat?
- Here is the dilemma: Do you think choice A or choice B would more effectively solve it?
- This situation is a total problem … it’s a mess – what are you going to do to fix it?
Obviously your coworker or spouse is going to respond much better to the first question. You’re communicating as a problem solver – not simply a problem spotter. While the answer to the problem may be more complicated than choice A or B, at least you’ve put some choices on the table and started the process of creatively finding a fix – as opposed to simply opening a can of worms.
Does your communication suggest creative solutions or simply spot trouble?
Now, the practical reality is that when you take 100% responsibility for the outcome of your communication with others, reasonable people will often meet you in somewhere in the middle.
A 50/50 outcome can be a great result but should never be your scheme.
Is your communications style oriented towards results or filled with schemes?
Initiating good communication is hard work. It takes conscious effort, desire, and a willingness on your part to do whatever is necessary. Initiating good communication means taking 100% responsibility for the outcome and 100% responsibility for any failures.
Are you willing to do the hard work of communicating?
Are you willing to give up blaming others for your communication shortfalls?
Are you willing to be 100% responsible for all of your communications?
Steve Weber is a Forrest Gump tribute artist, speaker, event maker, blogger, and aspiring author. He uses the simple, yet powerful, truths of Forrest Gump to turn meetings into events. You can learn more at SpeakingGump.com.
Next Blog Title: Simple Straight Talk – Gump Style
Next Blog Date: March 21, 2011