Each year I run a 12-session programme on ‘Communication Skills and Leadership’ for the Treverton Post-matric group. The participants are young people who have completed their formal schooling and are spending the year developing a whole range of skills. They are privileged to be under the enriching leadership of Athol Davies who has been the Director of Post-matric for the last twelve years and enabled a series of young people to shift closer to reaching their potential.
This week was the 2014 group’s ‘Session 7’ and during the four hours a new exercise was introduced. Each group was asked just one of two questions:
- What promotes effective communication?
- What hinders effective communication?
I was surprised and impressed by the intensity of their discussions and the quality of their input.
In summary, those factors perceived to impact negatively on the effectiveness of communication also opened possibilities for enriching communication. Conversely, those factors which enhanced communication could also close down possibilities.
In order to improve our communication skills, we need to be more conscious of factors that enhance effectiveness of our communication. Under different circumstances the same factors might impede the clarity of our message. We should strive to close the gap between the intention of our message and the perception of the person receiving the message. This also involves being clear on what our message is, presenting it in the most appropriate way for the recipient and checking afterwards that it has been correctly understood.