Like most people, you will likely rank communication as one of the greatest factors to success – in our businesses and in our families. Poor communication existed before COVID-19 but the pandemic has shown both the gaps in communication as well as its unlimited benefits.
While the side effects of social distancing are many, one has been impacted significantly – communication. We communicate to co-workers through virtual platforms or through masks, while remaining six feet apart. Our children communicate with their classmates and their teachers in the same fashion. Most people have adapted to the new way we communicate but have some work to do to ensure they are making the impact they intended.
Communication is much more than speaking – it is about delivering a message. During the worldwide pandemic and the extensive amount of “social distancing,” we are experiencing, the most powerful message needed right now is unification.
During a time of being separated from our co-workers, colleagues, family, and friends, we must be able to harness the true power of communication to bring our people together – to create cohesion and balance. Unfortunately, most people only communicate to share information. They miss the true power at their disposal.
Communication has the potential to be much like the harmonious sound of a beautiful symphony, performed by an orchestra comprised of many players and instruments. Musical tuning is critical to the overall experience of the collective performance.
In the workplace or even our homes, communication can help us to achieve harmony and unification. Unfortunately, it may often sound like a bunch of kazoo players when we fail to develop our communication skills. Just as most symphonies are made up of four movements (fast, slow, dance, strong), so is our communication.
To unify people, we must fine-tune our communication instruments and harness the power of the four movements of communication.
1. The WORDS we choose – Every word delivers a meaning.
2. The SPEECHES we share – Each speech sends a message.
3. The GESTURES we make – Every gesture makes an impact.
4. The ACTIONS we take – Each action reveals a purpose.
Our communication, all four elements, have magnetic properties. Just as the ends of a magnet are referred to as its poles. When magnets are lined up, so that two of the same poles face each other, they will push away. This is referred to as repulsion. When magnets are aligned, so that two opposite poles face each other, they will pull each other closer. This is called attraction. Ironically, magnetic attraction is 5-10% stronger than repulsion.
Now, more than ever, we must all be focused on “attracting” people with our communication. Focus on using words like “enhance” rather than ”change,” and “team member,” instead of “employee,” Ensure that your speeches (connected words) share hope and vision.
Nonverbal body language can be more impactful than our words, so strive to avoid eye rolls, head-shaking, and clockwatching. Instead, send positive messages by making direct eye contact, nodding your head, and leaning in when someone is speaking to you.
Because “Actions speak louder than words,” there is no greater time than today to magnetize your actions. Ensure that everyone is stepping in synch, whether that is performing each step in your business systems or completing household chores. Perhaps the greatest action we can take during this season of distancing is recognition – find ways to praise your co-workers, family members, and friends. Showing a little appreciation goes a long way in our world!