It consistently amazes me each day how our communication skills have declined both in business and in life. Albeit our technology has advanced substantially, our communication skills, on the other hand, have gone downhill. In terms of communicating clearly, eye-to-eye engagement, body language, and writing skills we are struggling more than ever. How did this happen and how can we turn it back around towards the top of the communication platform?
Technology advancements are wonderful but they have made us lazy or complacent. At the same time these technology breakthroughs can be very cold, uncompassionate, unforgiving, and of course mechanical. Is that what we are becoming too? All these characteristics are the nemesis of empathy. No wonder why effective communication skills are a serious problem today. The human ‘touch’ factor seems to have lost its’ ‘touch’!
We will certainly continue to excel on the road of developing new technology. But wouldn’t it be advantageous to couple this with the add-in of empathy in our daily communication efforts – thus we could experience even greater improvements? Well, we can! So what exactly do I mean by this? Following are some ways you can incorporate empathy into your daily communications while using technology.
- Agree to make at least one (1) verbal or face-to-face connection with someone for every three (3) electronic messages you send. Get back in ‘touch’ by communicating with the human voice and face too. This way, you’ll begin to be refreshed and empowered with direct communication and connection with others.
- Read and re-read your electronic correspondence before you press the ‘send’ button. Imagine looking into the other person’s eyes and visualize them looking back at you when creating your message. Make sure you’ll be perceived in the way you desire to be understood rather than being misinterpreted in the wrong way. Relay your message to the person in a way they’ll understand it; not only the way you choose to relay the message.
- Never assume the other person knows what you’re talking about all the time. Be precise, convey all the details clearly and don’t leave anything out regardless of how trivial you think it may be. Repeat things if necessary. Then nobody can come back to you and say, “Well you didn’t tell me that!”. You can then respond back with, “Oh, yes I did. Did you read through my correspondence?” In other words, CYB (cover your butt), and all the bases surrounding you!
- Be considerate of the other person’s situation at all times. This holds true with electronic correspondence as well as live correspondence. This is the true meaning of empathy. Put yourself, even if for a minute, in the other person’s shoes before you react and potentially regret your words or actions. Believe me, if you don’t it can cost you. Perhaps you may discover after it’s too late that you misinterpreted the other person’s feelings or words. If you’re not sure, STOP! Think about it for some time, or inquire and ask about it before you respond!
- DON’T just leave the other person hanging in the dark. Even if you don’t have an answer, get back to them and tell them so. Not responding at all or in a timely manner is just plain inconsiderate. “Oh I’ll deal with that later.”, “I’m too busy right now.” or “I’ll just ignore that and hope it goes away.” Seriously, it doesn’t go away and your reputation and integrity are on the line. That’s a cold hard fact, whether you think so or not. How often have you ‘forgotten’ to deal with a message because you had such a busy day? This happens too often folks and mistakes like this can be devastating for us. People just don’t appreciate being ignored nor forgotten. After all, put yourself in their shoes! Sound familiar – I think that would be called “empathy“.
- Use technology to your advantage and learn how to spell and compose with good grammar and consideration. If you want to be regarded with respect, or if you want appreciation, or if you want to be perceived in the right way then you need to act appropriately and set the right pace. Poor composition, bad grammar, and poor spelling creates a negative impression in the minds of others. You may think it doesn’t matter, but the truth is – it does!
- Always know that whatever you share or send electronically can easily be discovered and viewed by others. Others you may not even be aware of – others that may really matter. Take for example Facebook; posting negative comments, using abusive language, or bashing others are not effective means of communicating and I promise you, this type of communication will damage you in the end. Imagine people are looking at you, listening to you, all the time. And guess what? They can and they do – especially if they are considering your services or employment. Portray a positive image at all times regardless of how you may really feel inside.
There is a plethora of studies, articles, and data out there relating to the positive power of effective communication like this article. And this study speaks to the importance of empathy centered communication. Developing empathy can play a major role in improving your communication skills – thus improving your overall success.
Empathy Empowers Communication
Empathy skills in communication don’t necessarily come easy to many people these days and that’s why I am so compelled to help others in this area. This innate skill, that everyone can effectively practice, has contributed greatly to my sales and leadership success throughout the years. I’ve become a huge stickler and advocate for effective communication abilities because I’ve personally witnessed and seen outstanding results because of it. I’ve also witnessed many situational failures and disasters because of the lack of it too.
It’s up to each and every one of us to create positive change. To continue learning and growing. And importantly, to take the actions necessary to obtain the outcomes we desire in our professional and personal lives. After all, technology certainly is so why aren’t we as human beings? Empathy in communication plays a critical role to our ongoing success.
Check out my website and learn more about The Empathy Key, our workshops, and our one-on-one or group coaching and how we can transform your career, your sales, your leadership and much, much more with effective communication. Also, please indulge yourself the FREE, no-obligation, Empathy Key online test and discover what Key you possess and how you can use it to your and other people’s advantage.