PROACTIVE INTERACTIONS

Invest in Effective Communication

This is the wrong century to assume communication

In Summary

The playing field now has greater diversity and the need to understand each other cannot be overemphasized

A mobile phone user on the street of Nairobi
A mobile phone user on the street of Nairobi
Image: Philip Kamakya

There is a sense in which business is more subjective than objective because people are involved. The people factor means that somehow, emotions, culture, politics and other intangible elements come to play. We all know that ideally, business should be objective, but many times, what it should be isn’t the reality. Hence the need for effective communication.

Why is effective communication necessary? Because it is how you navigate the complex global business terrain – especially in the twenty-first century where local businesses have become global ones. The playing field now has greater diversity and the need to understand each other cannot be overemphasized. Also, besides operating globally, we deal with this complexity in our teams daily – and the internal issues are getting increasingly complex.

This is the wrong century to assume communication; the stakes are high in modern culture. Social media has made communication risker. Now, it’s important to be strategic about what you say, how you say it and what you do, internally and externally. Otherwise, the social backlash can be intense. If you truly understand this new terrain, then investing in effective communication is a no-brainer. Therefore, how do you make this investment?

Study Communication: I don’t mean that you go get a degree in communication – and it’s okay if you choose this route; I have one. But, beyond getting a degree, become a proactive student of the art of communication. Understand the need for effective communication and pursue every avenue to improve your communication skills. Please note that: learning to communicate effectively is a life-long journey. It’s not a one-off engagement. You have to be ready to commit to it for the long haul.

Pay the Price: There is a cost factor for effective communication. This means that you should be prepared to spend money on learning how to communicate effectively. Buy books, attend seminars, pay for online courses, etc. Invest money to acquire this skill. This is important because there is a general belief that communication is easy and can be winged as you go along; not true. Effective people invest resources in this area and it’s worthwhile.

Connect with People: It is not enough to study or pay to learn – practice is vital. Practice what you have learned and make the effort to truly connect with people. The more you practice, the better you get and the higher your returns on investment. Understand that the essence of effective communication is people connection – if this is not happening, communication isn’t effective.

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