Are you not thoroughly amazed at the ineptitude and inefficiencies that seem to be taking hold within our government on both sides of the aisle? Regardless of your political views – what we have seen taking place in the government these past few years leaves most of us just scratching our heads thinking: “What the heck is going on around here?” Following are some key tools government can take from how successful businesses operate so they can govern effectively.
Effective Communication involves choosing your words with care. Lately the media has been asking the question: “Do the words that you use to get your message across really matter?” Of course the answer is a resounding yes! The words you use matter tremendously. Gone are the days when we can ask for a “do over!” So when you are speaking (or writing for that matter) say what you mean and mean what you say! Deliberately choosing your words to communicate greatly increases the chances of your message being fully understood – minimizing ambiguous interpretations and saving time by avoiding needless clarification and repetition of the intended message.
Truly listen to what others have to say. Communication, by definition is a 2-way street; it involves a speaker and a listener. The most eloquent speaker in the world will not be heard if his audience is not truly listening to each other. A good listener allows the speaker to feel heard and understood. This, in turn, builds a connection and helps you develop a deeper more meaningful relationship. Success in business is predicated upon the ability to build strong relationships with your clients, customers and employees because it builds trust. If no one is trusting each other – business will not get done. This is exactly what we are seeing in Washington – nobody trusts each other so the business of governing has come to a screeching halt.
Following are some tips to insure you are fully listening:
a) Give your complete attention to the speaker – listen to both what is being said and what is not being said. Observe non-verbal communication and discipline yourself to avoid any distractions from your iPhone, ipad, etc. – usually the best way to do this is to keep them shut off.
b) Do not interrupt the speaker – hear them out. Remember – most people are not truly listening although they may appear to be doing so because they are not talking. When many people are silent, what they are in fact doing is just waiting for their turn to talk.
c) Try not to be judgmental – listen with an open heart and an open mind. The more passionate we are about an issue the more difficult it will be to listen to someone with an opposing point of view. But it is imperative we do so if we want to maintain both good will and an open dialogue – even if we are agreeing to disagree.
Using these communication (and listening skills) is tantamount to our success in business, whether we are an entrepreneur or a corporate worker. The same is true for government. Many “new and improved” products of successful companies have failed, costing billions of dollars because people within the company were not effectively communicating their message to their clients and customers – or they were not sincerely listening to some objections from their clients or employees about the new product that were being expressed. Isn’t this what appears to be going on in Washington?
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