Before taking the quiz How Good Are Your Communication Skills? I believed myself to be an excellent communicator. Since I speak to many people daily for my employment, I have always prided myself on being able to speak well and effectively communicate with others. Therefore, I was surprised when I took the quiz, after answering the questions truthfully, that it determined that I was just a “capable” communicator. My score was 45 out of 75 and I thought that I would have had a much higher score than that. The quiz broke down the results in detail according to the answers that I gave and going back through in detail, I can honestly say that I agree with most, if not all, of the feedback.
The quiz showed that I need to plan better what I want to say and keep it simple. It stated that when you write or speak too much and give too many details, you may think that it is getting the point across better while it may just be confusing the person more. I was also shocked at the results of sending messages because I send emails to customers and colleagues all the time and that thought I was effective at that. However, I got the lowest points in this category along with receiving and decoding messages. It pointed out that messages must be clear and concise, but also think about how the recipient of a message will view it. I have learned over the years that you cannot hear “tone” in a message, whether it be text or email. So, when sending emails, make sure that it is reviewed for anything that could be misconstrued by the other party. In decoding or receiving messages, it mentioned that though there may be a lot of information to convey, sometimes good listeners need to step back and listen to the other person. Also, not just listening silently, but actively listening and letting the party know that you are still with them.
According to Kimberlee Leonard, some of the characteristics of an effective communicator in business are that they are clear for better comprehension, concise and are respectful to others (Leonard, 2018). She notes that an effective communicator stays away from using business jargon because it can detract from what you are saying. The person or audience may get stuck on trying to understand what that meant instead of following the rest of the discussion. Being concise is important because if what you are saying is too wordy, you may also lose the person that you speaking to. They may just start to tune you out and lose the important parts of the communication. This would be true whether you are speaking to someone or using written communication. Respect can either mean respecting that person’s time or even what they have to say. Not thinking that you must get your point across and thinking too highly of your opinion without giving the other party a chance to speak.
Reading other articles on communication and especially after taking the quiz, it brought to light some of the things that I need to work on to be a more effective communicator. I liked the feedback that it provided because it narrowed down what areas I lacked in most and gave examples on how to become a better communicator going forward. It gave practical points that are not hard to implement. The main things that I want to work on now would be to actively listen to my customers when they speak to me. Let them know that I am listening by giving them some sort of validation that I heard what was said. I think the best way would be to try to briefly repeat what the issue or reason for their call was and then go forward. In my personal life, to communicate better with my family, it may mean putting down the electronics when being spoken to. At times, instead of giving eye contact and paying attention when people are speaking, we are busy looking at screens. Granted, you can still hear what is being said, but not giving full attention. Another thing that I am going to work on in my business dealings would be to be more concise when I speak or when I send emails. I tend to be wordy when speaking and notice at times that people have told me that they “don’t understand”, when in my mind I thought I was being very clear. Therefore, I am going to take the advise to “keep it simple”.