Happy Friday Everyone!
I know I know there was no post on Wednesday this week. No excuses here I will get better at it, but this wednesday I was exhausted. At work on Wednesday I had to play teacher for this stem summer camp for children in grades Kindergarten to 8th grade. My supervisor asked me to work with Kindergarteners and first graders because he felt it would be easier for me.
Digresion: I am NOT a teacher. Nothing in the past 22 years I have lived nor 10 years of my professional life has prepared me for this experience.
I have always underestimated how hard it is being a teacher or working with youth in any capacity. The hardest thing was communication. It was inexplicably hard trying to get the children to understand what I was asking them to do and why. This was because they did not have the capacity to articulate their thought processes and I had no idea how to modify my understanding to their level.
Here is why I am telling you all about my failure as an educator this past week. In the real world no matter the profession communication is something that is imperative to success but vastly underestimated. I have worked with several companies and with client where communication issues resulted in low retention rates and profit lost. In the world of event planning good communication can be the difference between a successful and low stress event and a complete disaster.
The tricky thing about communication is that it’s not just the words you use. If having good communication was as simple as writing down what needed to be done then I know a few places that should have impeccable communication. When communicating to different people of different ages, experiences, and personalities we as managers and business owners need to have a high level of empathy when it comes to understanding how others communicate with more than just words.
For example, I love things like learning my love language, zodiac sign and korean blood type personality. I am O blood, capricorn and my love language is quality time (because I know everyone was dying to know). I am a strong believer that our experiences and reactions to situations shape our personalities and we also have a large say in who we are as a people and the sciences can not tell us who we are supposed to be. But doing these tests and looking into them is a first step in learning more about yourself and how you can succeed in the professional world. I know that I am very business centric, I have a tendency to come off intense and serious. I know that if I willingly spend time with someone or speak about less professional matters with someone that means that I appreciate them and like them as a person. I am direct person and I like to be spoken to in a direct and straightforward manner as well as that is how I understand when someone is communicating with me. I am not the best at interpreting emotional nuances and underlying meanings to directions. What I mean by this is in the workplace I do not respond well to the model of compliment, things that could be improved, compliment. I am not devaluing this model of communication, but I am explaining the most effective way to communicate with myself. I know there is a large number of people out there who think I am absolutely insane.
The best advice I have received about communication was during my second year in college and my student supervisor told me that one of the students working on one of my teams felt intimidated and felt that I absolutely despised them. I told her that that was completely illogical because I didn’t know them so its impossible to despise someone you don’t know and she told me “Everyone communicates in different ways and everyone’s impact from a conversation varies based on how they communicate.” She explained that they received communication emotionally and when people didn’t smile or joke or give compliments they interpret the interaction negatively. That advice has stuck with me since then and whether I am communicating with my staff or a client, or just patrons in the facility I am constantly trying to gate the impact from what I am saying and how best to communicate with them.
Whether it is trying to convey mathological concepts to a bunch of 5 year olds or work procedures to 55 year olds it’s always a good idea to communicate in a way that is receptive to them. It shows understanding and respect and fosters a report so if there is ever a misunderstanding there can be a discussion and it can be resolved.
My challenge for you, this Friday? Take a minute to take this quiz to find out your love language and use that information to improve communication in your week next week. Love language is not solely for romantic relationships by the way but in all aspects of life.
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