Communication – Back to basics

Posted on Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 by

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Video Producer Holly discusses what makes a good communicator and the benefits of going back to the basics.

I have an active interest in observing others… ha, that sounds odd! When I was a little girl, I used to sit by my Grandad Bill and watch him intently. Looking at the lines around his eyes, his age spots, his hardworking hands and being fascinated by it all.

I can sit for hours watching people, which essentially boils down to a passionate interest in communication. The best places to watch people is London St Pancras Station, a beach, or a bustling bar or pub. Here, people of all walks of life, shapes and sizes flit in and out of sight as they interact with each other every second of the day.

 

Communication at our fingertips

As a media person, it’s always been my job to be a communicator as well as create communications. A few months ago I posted the blog #anchovies anyone?, which discussed the prominence of social media as well as pointing out its limitations.

Over the last hundred years we’ve seen technology revolutionise our daily lives. Email has fast become the preferred and most efficient method of communicating in the workplace.

However, in some situations emails aren’t as efficient as we might assume. They can be misinterpreted or just not clear enough. We often find ourselves starting with an email, then a phone call. Then, to fully get the gist of the brief, we set up a face-to-face meeting.

Yes, there are restraints of face-to-face communication: the cost, availability, the time, etc. However, I think these restraints are worth the cost and time if it means the message has been fully communicated, leaving both the client and the solutions provider on the same wavelength.

The power of face-to-face communication

Our body language, eye contact, voice, facial expressions and the way we dress are all subconscious persuasive techniques that are all absent in an email. Phone is better because we can hear a voice, but do we really create the rapport we would from a face-to-face meeting?

Are we just being lazy or are we missing a trick, or are we just forgetting how we all used to communicate before the technological revolution?  The bond we can build in a face-to-face meeting can be everlasting. We can build trust, empathy and connect with people differently. We can react on the spot, clearing up any issues there and then, as well as foresee any issues.

Let’s face it, building a good rapport means issues aren’t tricky to resolve; they’re easy to discuss and maybe even easier to discuss with the odd joke or story thrown in over a cup of tea.

What makes a good communicator?

I think it’s somebody who can use communication to their advantage. There are techniques that can be learnt, but being a really effective communicator is inherent. It’s a presence, a personality characteristic. We’ve all seen that person who can walk into a room and grab everybody’s attention without even saying a word, haven’t we?