Today is my birthday. Mi cumpleaños.
I turn 30 something.
And for my birthday, I want to share 5 lessons I learned about the impact that communication has on your life, success, and relationships. I wanted to share 30 but it required too much thinking. And many of these lessons are connected to each other. So, I will do my best to highlight their uniqueness.
1) Good communication is key to a happy life and its value should be recognized and appreciated.
Because from the moment you jump out of bed, you are communicating in some capacity with the things, people, pets, animals, and environment around you. You're sharing your happiness or sadness with them. Your achievements or disappointments. Your frustration or contentment.
A grunt when you first wake up because you don’t want to go to work says you are not excited for the day or your job. Repeated grunting every day suggests you aren’t happy or satisfied at your job. It may be time to look for a new one.
Sending your partner a lovely text when you first wake tells them that they are the first person you think about in the morning and that you love them. If you've stopped doing that, you're also saying something about the state of your relationship.
You can learn a lot about yourself if you pay attention to how you communicate with everyone and everything around you. When something odd comes out of your mouth or from your body ask yourself, what am I communicating to myself or the people around me?
2) Solid communication skills will strengthen or destroy a friendship, a marriage, a parental relationship, and even the relationship with yourself.
I’ve been on a self-improvement journey since I was in high school. I’ve read books on personal growth, parenting, marriage, and more books on professional development over the years.
And all these books stress the undeniable importance of effective communication.
A book on marriage will dedicate chapters to telling you and teaching you how to communicate clearly with your partner so that you both hear each other and meet each other’s needs.
A modern parenting book will ask you to learn how to use a respectful communication style and tone to develop strong relationships with your children without hindering their individual development and autonomy.
And a book on personal growth will insist that you speak kindly to yourself and use positive affirmations to break down negative belief systems.
So, keep in mind that how you use your words to communicate matters to all the relationships in your life. You can build strong, intimate relationships or toxic ones.
3) A robust communication skill set can contribute to yours and others success.
Very few people have stellar communication skills and those who possess them standout from the crowd easily. These are people who not only know how to write and speak clearly, they know how to captivate a room with digestible messages, stories, and ideas.
A parent with a positive and encouraging communication style can raise successful children by consistently sharing positive messages about them and the world, and shutting down the negative messages they receive from others.
A manager can help a team thrive by encouraging them through the uncertainty of success when they take on new projects. Your team will thrive if they know that you have their best interest in mind and if you demonstrate that with your words and actions. All people want a safety net and words and actions do that.
4) A positive and encouraging communication style doesn’t work if the tone isn’t right.
TONE matters significantly when it comes to communication.
It is the one thing that my husband and I bicker about all the time.
Tone elicits positive or negative emotional response instantaneously so be mindful.
I can go from 0 to 100 in a second when my husband’s tone ain’t right. And it’s always a shock to him.
Husband: “Why are you responding like that?”
Me: “Because your tone was rude. That’s why?”
Husband: “Well, I didn’t mean it that way.”
We’re still working on his tone. But, but the impact of that tone takes a while to dissipate.
Tone matters at home and in the workplace.
But, the impact is a little different. If your communication and tone don’t align in the workplace, at best your coworkers may think you’re “fake” and at worse manipulative or untrustworthy.
And adding a smile or a “thank you” to your negative tone will not cancel out the negative emotions you just elicited from them.
So, if you are a grouch at work, be a grouch, don't try to hide it with a cheerful attitude. OR, change the way you communicate with your colleagues. I can help you do that.
5) You don’t need to speak to communicate. Sometimes, your body language can speak louder than your words.
Parents understand this deeply. Teenagers and young adults are exceptionally skilled at using body language to show their disdain when you interfere with their life and time. My son’s micro facial expressions say a lot when I open a door to ask him to do a household chore. To not react to the adversarial body language, I talk to the air above his head and walk away. As long as the job gets done, I don’t address that body language until he and I are in a relaxed state. My husband does not have my self-control and, sometimes, small requests spiral in seconds due to our son's negative body language.
I know this is a bit personal. But it is important to understand that body language can undermine your words just like tone undermines a cheerful request.
Be aware of your facial expressions, eye rolls, stares, grunts, and silence in the workplace. They can breakdown your relationship with your peers, colleagues, supervisors, and bosses.
Okay. I’m done. I hope these lessons are food for thought.
Each lesson can be its own posts. If you want me to elaborate on any of them, please comment below.