So why is communication so important anyway?

We sort of take it for granted that communicating well is something good and we intrinsically know that we need to communicate to the best of our abilities. Extraordinary communication skills are a spectacularly brilliant thing to have and there’s often that part of the job advert that asks for “good communication skills”. But why is it so important? After all, surely if you an ideas person, a thinker, a self starter who just gets on with things, a doer and not a talker you don’t want to be made to discuss things all the time you just want to be left alone to get on with it.

Well on the one hand yes, and of course no one wants to be talking about things so much that there is no action. But the truth is that no one lives in a vacuum and on some level we all need to communicate. It’s true. Whether we like it or not and whatever form it takes, we need to do it.

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And here are some reasons why everyone keeps going on about it. Good communication means:

  • Knowledge can be captured and shared. Not lost because someone thinks they have already relayed the information….have you ever had that experience when you are sure you passed a message on to someone but they say they never got it? Or you arrive at a meeting and no one has filled you in with some vital piece of information? It’s that thing, where important information needs to be shared well, or there may be consequences….

  • Those exceptional ideas can be turned into something fruitful. It’s great to be the ideas person, the inventor, the person that comes up with the “what to do next” but if no one understands your vision, you might not get the recognition you deserve. More crucially, decision makers and other people might not be on board with you when you need them to be.

  • Clear and precise communication saves time. If you get it right the first time you won’t have to waste time repeating your message or having unnecessary meetings. Have you ever had to call a second or third meeting about a particular piece of work? Sometimes this is necessary to discuss progress or some kind of change. But often this is just about straightening out those misunderstandings, or requesting some kind of clarification. An enormously good way to suck up your time and resources.

  • You keep the focus. Ensuring your communication is clear helps to improve your own focus so that you know exactly what you mean and what you want to do. When you think more carefully about how to explain to someone else what you’re thinking or doing it can help with your own clarity. And we all need clarity to see where we are going.

  • Staff feel motivated and included when they are given opportunities to communicate and contribute in the right way. It is so frustrating when you have a genius idea, or a niggle that you need to talk about. When you have a clear outlet for this it feels so much better, and is just more productive than talking to the wind. Otherwise niggles get bigger, and fabulous ideas get lost.
  • You are more able to remedy difficulties when something goes wrong. When you know who is accountable for the chain of communication and how the processes of good communication should work in the first place life is far easier. Have you ever spent half the day trying to find out who it is you need to e-mail to get a decision made on something? Have you ever e-mailed a query to someone who has so many e-mails they barely read them? And then been surprised when you don’t get a reply? Working out a good communication strategy and making sure everyone knows about it is definitely a winning thing to do.
  • You have a solid basis for organisational understanding and development. Fostering good communication, especially in bringing different teams, departments, or levels of seniority together ensures that there is more solidarity. You know the component parts of your company or organisation. Creating links and lines of communication, especially face to face can really help build that cohesion that strengthens workforces and gets work done.
  • You don’t miss things going on around you. Remember, communication goes both ways and ensuring you have sent out your message clearly is only half the battle. Ensuring that you are tuned into the right channels to receive information, and that you are taking it on board is just as important.

So there we have it; 8 reasons why good communication is key. And already I am thinking of more. Of course if good communication is important for things to work well, just think of the impacts of exceptional communication. What are your examples of your own fantastic and exceptional communication?

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