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Opinions of Saturday, 22 August 2009

Columnist: Asuman, Hilda

Why does nobody LISTEN to me?

Effective communication at work

As much as people are said to be the vehicle on which all companies ride to success, they can be the road block to success when not managed properly. In recent years, corporate Ghana has witnessed a host of employee agitations and strikes which cut across a host of sectors; resulting in lost work time and reduced profitability. How about the many resistance and struggles that exists between departments which robs many companies of synergy and team work? In all instances, one prominent fact is evident—a lack of effective communication!

Many fail to realize that communication is only effective when both parties fully have clarity and appreciation for what is being discussed. Do your colleagues and subordinates comprehend the game plan? Some organizations spend huge sums of money on one size fit all communication enhancement seminars, employ the note pad policy (note taking is a must in all discussions); whiles others resort to asking for a repetition of ideas discussed, among a host of other measures aimed at bridging the communication gap. But in order to communicate effectively with all types of people at the workplace you need to learn how to present different kinds and quantum of information in different ways. In effect, to communicate well you have to ‘speak their language’. For example, people who prefer to take in practical information (Sensing Types) prefer to hear facts and details organized and presented in an orderly sequential manner. Conversely, people at the workplace who prefer Intuition as the means of taking in information can get bored or even impatient with details- the more details you present the less attentive or agitated they become. They prefer communication that focus on what the facts mean; their linkages, possibilities and relationships. These are the ‘big-picture’ people, always asking ‘So how do all these things fit together’? For such people, presenting the overview before the facts makes more sense.

There are several other differences in what people want to hear: some pay a lot more attention to personal human interest stories, while others are more convinced by logic. Calm, soft, reasonable communication may be attractive to some, while others are more attuned to communication depicting outward enthusiasm. So becoming aware and knowing your own communication style and those of others will make you communicate more effectively at the workplace. This is even more important during performance appraisal as people prefer to give and receive feedback in different ways according to their personality types.

Communication in essence is an exchange of information between two or more people, as such at every given point in the process there is a giver and receiver of information. How can you give without knowing the needs of the recipient? Do you know how the recipient processes information? Most importantly do you as a communicator know exactly how to tap into the sources of energy of your listeners to motivate them to action? Hence there is the need for a communicator to understand and identify each individual according to his or her kind and communicate in their values. Admittedly, to the untrained eye, this can be a daunting task in view of the general unpredictability of human nature. However, help is readily available!

It is thus very heartwarming to welcome a globally acclaimed and reliable personality assessment tool used by over two million individuals worldwide every year-- the Myers Briggs Type Indicator [MBTI®] Personality assessment tool! The importance of this training tool cannot be over emphasized. This relatively cost effective and innovative tool enables members of the corporate world to appreciate their strengths and weaknesses and learn how to communicate effectively in each other’s values for success.

By: Hilda Asuman Pmi First Consults Email: Hilda.Asuman@pmifirstconsult.com