Evaluate Your Communication Skills

Jan 9th, 2011 | By | Category: abundance, aptitude, Career advice, career challenges, challenges, communication skills, competing, confidence

One of the most common overestimations we make is our ability to communicate effectively. Most of us have been communicating since birth to get our message across to others. An infant almost instinctively learns to get mother’s attention when hungry, in need of maintenance or attention. Usually this involves making an annoying noise (crying) until mother figures out what will quiet them. As our social interactions expand so does our need to communicate. Although crying seems to work for infants, it begins to loose its effectiveness and acceptability as we age, especially for men.

We tend to develop our communication skills through observation and trial and error. As our social sphere expands so do our communication skills to meet our needs. Although we are taught language and grammar in school, we are really not taught how to use it to communicate more effectively. So we are left to our own devices to develop our communication skills and styles. However, we seem to become self-satisfied with our level of communication skills at some point, and do not actively continue to concentrate on improving our abilities.

When we first enter the workplace, most of us feel that our communication skills are more than adequate to cope with any situation that we may encounter. Even though we observe some of our peers advancing at much faster rate, we usually do not recognize why. When you have poor communication skills, it is difficult to recognize the difference between mediocre and good communications. Mediocre skill enables us to understand the majority of what is transmitted to us, be it good or mediocre. However, with mediocre communication skills we are not able to judge the effectiveness of what we convey to others. Since we understand what we are trying to say, we assume that others will too. One of my most valuable lessons in the continuing need to develop ever-improving communication skills was when I started attending international meetings. (I was fortunate that the working language was English as it is the only language I speak.) When I began to interact with my international colleagues, for whom English was a second language, I soon discovered the difference between mediocre and good communication skills. Even though we were all speaking English, there was vast difference in understanding. I learned to speak slower and to choose my words more carefully. I gained a new appreciation for examples, and visual aids. Most of all I gained a new insight into the value of improving my communication skills.

In researching this article I found a short communication quiz published by MindTools go to (http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newCS_99.htm ) to take the quiz. Below is a copy of the questions.
The Communication Quiz
1 I try to anticipate and predict possible causes of confusion, and I deal with them up front.
Not at all, Rarely, Sometimes, Often, Very Often
2 When I write a memo, email, or other document, I give all of the background information and detail I can to make sure that my message is understood.
Not at all, Rarely, Sometimes, Often, Very Often
3 If I don’t understand something, I tend to keep this to myself and figure it out later.
Not at all, Rarely, Sometimes, Often, Very Often
4 I’m sometimes surprised to find that people haven’t understood what I’ve said.
Not at all, Rarely, Sometimes, Often, Very Often
5 I can tend to say what I think, without worrying about how the other person perceives it. I assume that we’ll be able to work it out later.
Not at all, Rarely, Sometimes, Often, Very Often
6 When people talk to me, I try to see their perspectives.
Not at all, Rarely, Sometimes, Often, Very Often
7 I use email to communicate complex issues with people. It’s quick and efficient.
Not at all, Rarely, Sometimes, Often, Very Often
8 When I finish writing a report, memo, or email, I scan it quickly for typos and so forth, and then send it off right away.
Not at all, Rarely, Sometimes, Often, Very Often
9 When talking to people, I pay attention to their body language.
Not at all, Rarely, Sometimes, Often, Very Often
10 I use diagrams and charts to help express my ideas.
Not at all, Rarely, Sometimes, Often, Very Often
11 Before I communicate, I think about what the person needs to know, and how best to convey it.
Not at all, Rarely, Sometimes, Often, Very Often
12 When someone’s talking to me, I think about what I’m going to say next to make sure I get my point across correctly.
Not at all, Rarely, Sometimes, Often, Very Often
13 Before I send a message, I think about the best way to communicate it (in person, over the phone, in a newsletter, via memo, and so on).
Not at all, Rarely, Sometimes, Often, Very Often
14 I try to help people understand the underlying concepts behind the point I am discussing. This reduces misconceptions and increases understanding.
Not at all, Rarely, Sometimes, Often, Very Often
15 I consider cultural barriers when planning my communications.
Not at all, Rarely, Sometimes, Often, Very Often

For automatic scoring and results Interpretation Go to:
http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newCS_99.htm for the interactive test and scoring.

As you can see from the questions effective communications involves more than language and grammar. Leaning to communicate effectively is a never-ending challenge, and one that pays continuous dividends.

Good luck
The PracticaL Mentor

Your purchase of a copy of the PracticaL Mentor’s Guide On How To Cope With A Difficult Boss will help ensure the continuation of the Practical Mentor Website. Thank you for your support.





3,723 total views, 3 views today

Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave Comment