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Communication is the most important skill in life. We spend most of our waking hours communicating.—Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Throughout our entire lives, communication—or more specifically, conversation—is essential to getting our point across to others: whether it’s asking for another cookie (as children), a test re-write (as students), a promotion (as employees); or making a big business transaction (as leaders).
Yet, despite its importance, people generally refer to communication and conversation as “soft skills” in the workplace—undermining its rank below “hard skills” related to monetary gain like project management, computer skills and accounting.
Granted, the link between conversation and profit isn’t quite as clear or tangible. Moreover, conversation—as well as people’s actions—is about feelings, which may also contribute to it being viewed as a soft skill.
But feelings have great—even dire—consequences in the business world, depending on how they are managed through conversation.
Not everyone has the ability to effectively communicate what matters most to them, nor to understand or appropriately respond to other people’s needs and thoughts. And this lack of skill—on the part of employees and leaders—can lead to an unenergized, less innovative and productive workplace.
Leaders need to understand the need to pay attention to and help employees walk through their feelings, because feelings draw conclusions: oftentimes, the wrong conclusions. Why? Because feelings create a filter through which we see events and make choices, thereby driving results.
This case study is positive proof of the true power of conversation on the bottom line. By honing conversational skills to effectively draw information out of employees and see others’ points of view, a financial organization saw a 90% improvement, leading to an increase of:
As leaders, we need to pay more attention to understanding how people are driven, how their emotions play a part in that, and how to respond to it appropriately. Consequently, we can learn to truly energize them to get their best stuff, and positively impact the bottom line.
Learn about Juice Inc's Power of Conversation training program!
Co-Founder of Juice Inc, Thought Leader & Author
Co-Founder of Juice Inc.
Vice President, Business Development
Business Development, Juice USA
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