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This short & informative electronic newsletter is filled with tips for building an effective Union and is published monthly by Janet Stewart.

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Are you a good communicator?
... and how can you tell?

 

Body Language - When you communicate with someone, they interpret your message not only through the words that you use and the tone of your voice, but also by your non-verbal cues…body language. Eye contact, posture, gestures, touch and silence all contribute to the sincerity of the message.

 

Good Listening Skills - Good listeners believe that feelings are as important as facts. When they listen to you, they not only pay close attention to the words you say, but also to the words that you are NOT saying. They pay close attention to your body language and tone of your voice.

 

Communication Styles - There are three communication styles: passive, aggressive and assertive. People prefer to interact and communicate with assertive people because they are respectful and easy to talk to.

What messages do your non-verbal cues convey?

Are you “hearing” what is being said?

What about what is NOT being said?

 Here are some tips for effective communication:

  • Choose your words carefully. Use language that is familiar and meaningful to your listener.
  • Avoid using really big words and lots of acronyms. Many people are too embarrassed to admit when they don’t know the meaning of one.
  • Consider what messages you are sending out by your appearance. For example, a sloppy appearance may give someone the impression that you don’t care, are unprofessional or that you pay little attention to detail.
  • Be aware of cultural differences when it comes to evaluating some of the non-verbal cues. For example, eye contact is interpreted differently in different cultures.
  • Ask clarifying questions, in a non-defensive way, when you don’t understand someone or their point of view.
  • Avoid interrupting someone when they are speaking.
  • Reinforce the remarks of the person who is talking to you (head nods, smiling, saying “uh huh”, etc.).
  • Don’t pretend to listen to some one, if you don’t have the time to listen or have other thoughts on your mind, postpone the conversation to a more appropriate time.
  • Avoid engaging in side conversations with another person while listening to a presentation.
  • Avoid the temptation to do other work while talking to someone on the telephone. Give them your complete attention.
  • When introduced to someone new, listen to the person’s name rather than preparing your own introduction in your head.
  • Use paraphrasing to check your understanding of what the speaker has said.
  • Maintain open body posture when speaking to someone, to signal your receptiveness.
  • Identify what typically triggers a defensive reaction in you and reflect on strategies to minimize these. Be aware of buzz words that trigger a negative reaction in you.
  • When providing feedback, check first with the person to see if he/she is open to receiving your feedback. Conversely, accept feedback and criticism from others as a means to personal improvement. Feedback is a gift that you have…to give…or to receive.
  • Value and accept differences of opinion. Sometimes you just have to “agree to disagree” with someone.
  • Avoid formulating an answer in your head while the other person is still speaking.
  • Be honest about your own feelings, but respectful of the other person’s.

A final thought…       

 

“You have two ears and one mouth…so listen twice as much as you talk!”

Download a FREE copy of this article and use it at your next Union meeting!



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