the building blocks of peak performance. It started with self-awareness and then mindset. The third block is communication.f you have been following my posts, you may have noticed that I have been going more in depth into what I call
We are social creatures and being able to communicate effectively with others is an important skill in building solid relationships. It is having solid and deep relationships that increases our personal well-being as well as contributes to both personal and team performance. In fact, research has shown that positive interpersonal relationships is a critical factor in creating high levels of personal and team performance.
So, let’s break down what communication is. Communication can be both verbal and non-verbal and can involve both more than one person as well as what you say to yourself. This is known as self-talk. In this article though, I’m going to focus on interpersonal communication. This may seem basic but hold tight. I’m just laying the foundation. 😊
Developing strong relationships and communicating effectively when everything is going well and there is no stress is easy. But what happens in challenging times, when stress is higher, or when you need to deliver news or feedback that is not welcomed? Some individuals may try to skirt the issue or soften the blow by not communicating directly and honestly which leads to issues that do not get resolved. Other individuals may be more direct, but not follow the rules of supportive communication which can lead to defensiveness by those on the receiving end. When an individual is on the defensive, they feel threatened and go into self-preservation mode guaranteeing that any listening is all but gone.
This is where having the skills of supportive communication is helpful. Here are the elements of supportive communication:
- The first component is congruency. This means that your verbal and non-verbal communication has to match. If a teammate makes a mistake, and you say “It’s ok. Next time”, but your face says differently. Maybe you roll your eyes or the tone of your voice implies frustration, do you think that your teammate really believes that it’s ok? Of course not. So making sure that both your verbal and non-verbal communication is in alignment is important for effective communication.
- The second component is descriptive. Vague communication leaves a lot open to interpretation and the interpretation, or the meaning that they give to the communication will be based on their past experiences. An individual who has had a history of coaches or leaders always yelling or criticizing will interpret vague feedback, even if it’s constructive, differently than someone who has had a history of supportive leaders.
- There is a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative communication. We are wired for survival and because of this, we store what we perceive to be negative, or threats more strongly than we do positive experiences. Research has shown that it takes 3 positive statements to neutralize one “perceived” negative one. Because of this, it is important to build up a bank of positive communication with those you have relationships with. When you are in a position to deliver constructive feedback or news that the other may perceive as negative, you already have a positive foundation built. It is important to keep in mind that positive communication doesn’t have to be purely compliments. It can something like remembering that your co-worker’s mother was ill and taking the time to ask about her. It is in small moments like these that strong relationships are built.
- It is problem-oriented rather than person-oriented. When delivering feedback or communication, make sure that the words you are using focus on problems and solutions of specific behaviors, rather than the personal attributes of the individual you’re speaking with. Avoid using the word “YOU” when providing feedback as this can result in defensiveness.
- Consider the timing of the communication. If someone just experienced a poor performance or is under heightened stress, they are less likely to take in feedback, even if constructive. If possible, wait until the individual is in a more neutral state so they can absorb what is being communicated without feeling threatened.
Ok- that is a lot of information so I will end this article here. In order to apply this information in your life, I challenge you to work on building your relationship “bank accounts” and be generous with your positive communication for those in your life.
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