January 14, 2020
What Makes Great Professional Communication
There are plenty of general ideas out there about what professional communication should entail. The usual suspects include things like: Listen, Build Rapport and Trust, Be Direct, Don’t Make a Communication Personal, Inspire, Be Clear, Tap into the Other Person, Develop Relationships, Give Feedback, and more! Okay, wow, that’s a lot. But how are you supposed to make these things work, and why? All of these directives are not connected to the WHY, Outcomes, or the HOW based on the circumstances. Importantly, they are not based on the WHO in the communication or the specifics of the WHO. Let’s talk about how Human Communication Studio preps our clients, whether here in Tucson or in Italy, and on how to handle professional communication.
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The Human Communication studio was pleased to hold an interactive workshop on Public Speaking & Communication skills at @unieuropearoma in Rome, Italy last week. Students got on their feet, out of their comfort zones, and even had some fun with English tongue twisters! Thank you to @uercareer . . . . . #communication #publicspeaking #workshop #rome #italy #facetoface #strategy #skills #coaching #training
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The Human Communication Studio Difference
We here at HCS approach in-person professional communication situations by examining the specific context surrounding any interaction. The Who, What, Where, When, Why and then the most important aspect: HOW. By addressing these circumstances, our clients better understand what makes those interactions successful.
Professional communication is complex. Often the communication is about what is best for the business and not necessarily about outcomes that are easily definable for the people having the interaction. Business is generally not about feelings but results and therefore, professional communications can be messy and confusing. Professional communications are not only about the message, being understood, and understanding others, but also about feelings.
So, there is a need for preparation that yields multiple results. There is a need for real-time assessment of the communication. There is a need for a skill set that can execute all of the pop culture advice on How to do the What. Professional communication is not everyday communication. People are ambassadors for a business, delivering a message not always their own, and at the same time striving to support the human capital of a business.
While human communication is deeply involved in outcomes, professional communications are layered and not only are interpretations sometimes out of our control, there can be a variety of responses to a communication. That’s why it is absolutely critical to prepare not just the content of the message, but also the means of communication.
Therefore, professional communication is a higher risk communication than ordering your sandwich at the deli. So while the pop-science tips will tell you what to do, they rarely address the how. And that ‘how’ is crucial with these high-risk communications!
Develop Rapport – but how?
Short of taking someone to lunch or asking about their family, how do you build a rapport with someone you only have a professional relationship with? Stand or sit? ¼ turn or full front? Round or linear gesture? All of this is essential for building rapport in a professional communication.
Be Direct – but how?
What if being direct results in defensiveness, emotional distress? What if you, the communicator, find being direct to be very difficult? Then what? Perhaps you are a person who is already intense and your everyday style of communication is already direct, do you bump it up? Or what?
Listen – but how?
Do you sit to listen? Stay standing? What if the communication drifts into a litany of complaints or goes off topic? How do you listen and also reset the communication to move forward?
Modern, Device Driven Professional Communication
Increasingly, all of the above has to be contemplated through distance communication through a device (using email, phones, or other technology.) even if the colleague is down the hall. What does all this mean for our professional communications?
Professional communications are more often taking place through email, over a phone, or messaging service than in person. The communications are being taken online to make it more ‘efficient’ and the rise of brevity has led to apps and tools that support team communications. Rapid team response has catapulted certain types of communications, and thus production into an advantageous place in the market.
But, relying only on this type of communication means that time is not spent communicating with colleagues or bosses in person, it means that often communication can lose the real meaning of each interaction.
Professional communications need to be clear and direct, relatable and valuing, insightful and also strategic, motivating and inspiring, corrective and responsive. They must hold all these values equally and when in person there is more of an opportunity to transmit the nuance that can communicate even somewhat differing goals. In written, voice, or limited screen views, those nuances can get lost or simply not seen, heard, or felt. While, emojis can be a nice addition, picking up the slack and filling in for all the cues that someone picks up in-person when we are communicating, they have tremendous limitations in terms of nuance.
The increase of device interfaced communication creates less opportunity to interact professionally in-person and that means less practice and development of the skills required for aspects of face-to-face professional communications that are more intense, pressure filled, intimidating, or risky.
So, even if the pop advice is sound and a good reminder of ‘be this or that’ with the practice of professional in-person communication on the decline, we have to remember to refocus on how to do what is being asked, to understand the options available, and how they influence the outcome.
There are still plenty of professional communications that demand competency in face-to-face interactions. The Human Communication Studio provides the skillful in-person communicator with the toolset to achieve the ‘be this, be that’ of pop science sources.
If you are looking for this kind of instruction, the Human Communication Studio is here to help! If you are in the Tucson area we can meet with you easily to help get you on the path of better professional communication. We are a global company, providing instruction around the world in-person and online. Our video learning library is full of great materials that anyone, anywhere can access and accelerate their own communication performance. Reach out today and see how the Human Communication Studio can help you!