Communication is constantly happening. No matter how hard we try, we are always communicating. Whether it is through our words or our body, we are continually expressing our thoughts, feelings, and opinions.
If you watch two people interacting you can tell how well the conversation is going based on both people’s facial expressions and body language. For example, if one person has a scowl on their face, is leaning back, and their arms are crossed, we assume that the person is not happy about what is being said. On the other hand, if the person is smiling, nodding, and leaning forward, we can recognize that they are enjoying and agreeing with the speaker.
I have always considered myself a good communicator…that is until recently. What I realized is that I am actually good at verbally expressing myself and my opinions. Verbal expression does not mean that I am actually communicating. Yes, I am speaking and using language, but I am not necessarily getting my message across.
When I was in college, I had the opportunity to go to Puerto Rico on a mission trip and I wrote a sermon in Spanish. I was nearly fluent in Spanish at the time, but I was not proficient enough not to have and read a manuscript. My classmates who went with me had no idea what I said and would have rather that I preached in English and had an interpreter work with me to translate my sermon into Spanish.
I communicated the Easter story to the audience of Spanish speakers, but I did not communicate to my classmates. The difficulty was that all of the Puerto Ricans speak English. They are required to learn English in school because they are a United States territory. In other words, if I had spoken in English, everyone could have understood the message that I prepared for that day.
In his book, Everyone Communicates, Few Connect, John Maxwell describes some of the biggest issues with communication. He suggests that many of us do not take the time to build trust with people, to show that we care for people, and to show that we can help people. The old adage: “People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care,” holds true in communication.
Communication has many purposes, but I see the ultimate purpose of communication as building relationships with people. No matter what you do, you will have to interact with people. Unless you are going to be a reclusive monk, living in a remote hut in an uninhabited part of the world, you will at some point have to communicate with others.
The ability to communicate well is a vital part of every person’s toolbox. We must be able to express ourselves verbally, using language that is appropriate to the situation. We must also be able to express our emotions and feelings through our nonverbal communication. This means that we have to understand and control our facial expressions and body language during our conversations. It is very easy to show annoyance, anger, frustration, and boredom in our nonverbal expressions if we are not careful. These can be barriers to the very relationships we are trying to build.
I understand that we do not have the ability or desire to be in relationship with every person we encounter. We do not have the time or the energy to support all of those relationships. However, I believe that it is essential to communicate well and to build positive rapport with each person we meet. You do not know with whom you may be interacting. It could be a future employer, a future friend, a future spouse, a future teammate, a future coworker, or a future neighbor.
That is why it is essential to communicate intentionally and positively with each person we encounter. It could lead to additional business deals, exciting new relationships, job prospects, and other great opportunities that we would never have if we did not engage in communicating and connecting with others.
How can you improve your communication with others? One of the best ways is to learn about how you communicate based on your personality and behavioral preferences. The Maxwell Method of Communication Impact Report will help you understand your communication preferences. This includes how you communicate with others as well as how you prefer people to communicate with you. It provides strategies to improve your communication with each person based on their personality and behavioral preferences.
If you want to utilize this resource, contact me at email@example.com and set up a time to enhance your ability to communicate.
Next Steps Coaching, LLC
I do not believe in making New Year’s resolutions. I spent many years promising myself that I would break a bad habit, eat healthier, start a new fitness routine, get more organized, and the like. And every year, after a few months I would find myself no longer resolving to do what I had told myself I was going to do.
Instead of resolutions, I now try to spend several hours during the first few weeks of January to write down my goals and objectives for the year. Some years I have met most of my goals. Other years, I have not even come close to meeting my goals. For example, last year I set out to lift weights at the gym three times each week. After a few months, I was achieving my goal, but then in the early summer months, I injured my knee and quickly got out of the habit. Now, it has been over six months since I went to the gym to lift weights.
Now I guess I could let myself off the hook with that one since I was injured, but even when it was time to rehabilitate my knee, I did not choose to make time to go to the gym to strengthen it. It seems like many of my goals fall short because of an unexpected event or turn. Have you ever struggled with this?
Then I read authors like John Maxwell and Michael Hyatt who talk a lot about goal setting and accomplishing your objectives. They always talk about priorities. As a result, I make priority lists and my list looks something like this:
I could go on, but what I have found is most of my priorities are desired, but not actual. I do not always put my faith first. I do not always make time for my wife and kids. I am not always present for my family. I make choices that negatively affect my health and wellness. I have neglected several of my friendships. You get the point. I spend too much time working to try to pay the bills and get out of debt and miss what I say is important. This does not include the time I spent lost in another activity that was not a priority.
And often, because of my lack of prioritization, the person who suffered the most was myself. I believe that we should have two lists of priorities: an external priority list and an internal priority list.
What I mean is: we should prioritize the important people and relationships in our life. We should prioritize outside activities, finances, hobbies, work, and those things. They should be on a list.
But these things are external and are dependent on our own ability to make them a priority. Our organizations, businesses, churches, families, and friends need us to be the best version of ourselves. That is why I believe that an internal priority list is absolutely essential.
What goes on this list? Our personal development, our dreams, our ambitions, our health. I used to think it was selfish to focus on myself; to put time and energy into what I needed or wanted. But as I’ve gotten older, I have realized that if I am not focused on taking care of my personal needs physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually, I fall easily into a place of resentment and depression. I have become aware that when I feed myself positively in each of these areas, I find that I have more to offer the people around me. When I am excited about what I am doing, I love to share it and bring others around.
I don’t know what your priorities are this year, but I know that mine start with working on my internal development. I want to focus on the things that matter most so that I can bring my best self to the people and places that are most important to me.
If you haven’t taken time yet this year, I would challenge you to write out a priority list. Don’t just make a wish list that looks right. Be honest with yourself and write down your priorities. Need help figuring it out? Take an inventory of how you spend your time and your money.
As an executive coach, I would love to work with you and help you discern your priorities, discover where you are stuck, and help you take action toward the place you want to be.
I am committed to your success. I believe in you. I believe in your potential. Sign up for a complimentary coaching session today!
I floated in life for over 15 years, stuck in negative thinking patterns and addictions. Now after working with coaches, training programs, and a variety of other authors and mentors, I have broken free of many of my destructive patterns by taking intentional Next Steps toward my preferred future! I can't wait to help you do the same!