“Good people skills not only get you what you want, they bring out the best in your relationships.”
Although interpersonal communication is humanity’s greatest accomplishment, the average person does not communicate well. Low-level communication leads to loneliness and distance from friends, lovers, spouses, and children- as well as ineffectiveness at work.
Communication skills, no matter how finely structured, cannot be a substitute for authenticity, caring, and understanding. But they can help us express these qualities more effectively than many of us have been able to do in the past.
Robert Bolton, a prominent speaker and an expert in the communication field, notes that he would never got have into the communications field, were it not for the fact that his own people skills were so bad.
There are virtually no jobs where communicating well does not make a big difference to our success. As many people have found, particularly those in a more technical field, the actual “work” is only part of the job; the rest is managing or dealing with people. Therefore, if we can communicate well, this can account for at least half our achievements.
Removing the roadblocks
Nearly everyone wants better communication skills, yet often without knowing it our communication is full of roadblocks that prevent real communication with others. Two of the main ones are judging and offering solutions. When talking with someone, it is difficult to listen to what they are saying without putting in our “two bits” worth. This is the nicer side of judging. The other is criticism and labelling. Our good advice to people is in fact rarely constructive, because it usually represents an affront to the other person’s intelligence.
We may be so used to removing roadblocks that we wonder what will be left if we remove them from our style of conversation. What remains is the ability to understand and emphasise with other people, and to make our concerns clearly known them.
Not many people are good listeners. Research has found that 75 % of oral communication is ignored, misunderstood, or quickly forgotten.
There is a huge difference between merely hearing and listening, author Bolton notes. The act of listening means more than just something physical, it is a psychological engagement with another person. Listening is not a single skill, but if genuinely practiced involves a number of skills such as attending, following, paraphrasing, reflecting, responding etc.
We can stand our ground yet not be aggressive. This is easily the most effective means of communication for most situations, yet most of us either forget assertion or don’t know how to use it.
The whole point of assertion statements is to produce change without invading the other person’s space. There is no power or coercion involved, as the focus is on a result. We can remain angry, and the other person knows it from what we are saying, yet at the same time it allows us not to be hostile or aggressive. They are left to decide for themselves how to respond to the message, which allows them to retain their dignity-while we have taken a big step getting what we want.
Conflict prevention and control
What we really want in life is situations where everybody wins. To get win-win outcomes, we have to focus not only on solution but also on each party’s needs.
As the old saying goes, “A problem well defined & understood is a problem half solved”.
Hence follow step by step process for identify needs, which will then to lead to solution.
Therefore it is suggested that for effective use of people skills, one should focus on three vital, learnable skills: listening, asserting and resolving conflict.