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Building relationships with employees and customers depends in large part on our ability to communicate effectively. Although we are always communicating, whether it's by speaking or in our body language, the results of our communications can be very different.
Sometimes we experience positive results, sometimes negative results. We can solve problems or increase productivity, misunderstandings can result, and we can satisfy a customer's complaints or not. Customer and employee relations begin with effective communication. And, communication involves more than just talking to an employee or listening to what a customer is complaining about.
What is effective communication?
- Asking questions for information
- Listening for understanding
- Repeating back your understanding for clarity
There are many reasons why people ask questions;
- They want let you know how smart they are
- They want to let you know how stupid you are
- They want to attack you or your information
The voice tone, and the emphasis on particular words serve as verbal "clues" to the type of communication you are receiving. In our society, you very seldom hear a person ask a question purely for information, because most people feel stupid asking a question. In addition, in our society, people do not like being asked a question — they feel as though they are being challenged.
Sometimes the question is out of your mouth before you even know it. However, it is important to stop and think before asking a question, especially if you are angry or frustrated. Sometimes you have to dig really deep to ask a question for information. You could be so angry or frustrated by something that you can't find the right tone of voice — so, don't ask the question. Wait until you can ask it for information.
In addition to the commitment to asking questions for information, it is important to realize that each person who is a party to the interaction is 100% responsible for the message being delivered accurately. Communication is a skill. That means that it is learned and it is never too late to learn how to communicate effectively.
Check back next month for part two of Effective Communication.
Robert Andre is the President of CarWash College™. Robert can be reached at RAndre@carwashcollege.com. For more information about CarWash College™ certification programs, visit www.CarWashCollege.com or call the registrar's office at 1-866-492-7422.