Kathleen Ameche: HI! I am Kathy Ameche and I am discussing how to balance work and family life. Now I am going to talk about the importance of communication with your boss, colleague, client, spouse, or child. Whoever said listening is more important than talking, they were right.
You are never going to know when people are unhappy, stressed or if expectations are being met if you don't communicate. On the other hand, people will not know how you are feeling if you don't communicate with them. Effective communication begins with knowing who people are, and what their needs are. Start by asking open-ended questions, get them to talk about themselves at home and at work. You would learn a great deal and it should impact the way you respond to them.
When in doubt, say, tell me more. It's a great way of telling the person you are talking to that you care and you are listening. Use technology appropriately and don't let it use you. You can put the Black Berry or Crack Berry down. There are times when you are absolutely native but think about the times when you can put it down or away. Practice putting it away for a while, that is and can be difficult to accomplish. Start with small tasks, during dinner time, or Sunday mornings. Once you have mastered that time frame, impose large time frame on yourself. I recently read an article that said people are now checking their email or their PDA before they have the morning coffee. Try not to do one of those statistics. How do you use preempted and reactive communications? Do you email or text? Do you use communication preemptively to sell a thought? Prepare people for what is next. Before technology, when we are preparing for a presentation, we would meet with the key stakeholders before the meeting, have the meeting, then have a postmortem after the meeting was over. Now it's all done electronically, faster? Yes, but more effective? You be the judge.
How many times have we've received an email that got us all worked up. A simple rule to live-by, don't text when you are angry. Walk away and come back. The problem won't seem so big if you give yourself sometime before you react. Sometimes, try not using technology at all. A number of organizations are instituting email free Fridays. Why is it that people don't pick up the phone and call anymore? Do yourself a favor and go down the hall and sit in front of someone, smile and really have a conversation. Even, at home, turn off the TV, stop paying bills, and look at your loved ones and talk. This is such a great gift to give someone, you. So that's why communication is so important.
Up next, I am going to talk about why you need to give yourself a break from time to time.