How better than to learn effective communications than from the relationship with your motorcycle? You interpret inputs from the environment you’re riding in and transmit instructions to your bike to on how to safely navigate that stretch of road. If you ask it to do something that is inappropriate, it will soon let you know about it. The feedback is direct and immediate, allowing you to adjust your instructions accordingly.
The basic interpersonal communications model is just as simple, except it involves feelings, emotions and beliefs. There’s a sender and a receiver. In between are filters. You filter your message with body language and other non-verbal cues. The receiver decodes your message through their own filters, interpreting your verbal and non-verbal cues to distill their own meaning from what you’ve said.
7 Benefits of Effective Communications
- Attracts attention. With so much information coming at you from all directions, it’s important to break through the clutter. Congestion – whether it’s workload or traffic – and multitasking create distractions. Be clear, purposeful and persistent. Proceed with courage and confidence.
- Promotes safety. Communicating your intentions, such as using hand signals in addition to your turn signals, helps avoid accidents and prevent misunderstandings. While you still need to consider that you still were not seen or heard, clear communications reduces the risk.
- Allows others to prepare. Especially important when the change is sudden, it’s applicable in any situation. People have varying degrees of tolerance for change. When they’ve had a heads-up, they can begin responding and adapting. Remember, some will take longer than others to get it.
- Avoids redundancy. Just like you may find that someone headed for the same lane as you were, you may find someone else is already well underway on another task you were just beginning. That’s good to know and allows you to redirect your energy at something more productive.
- Reinforces best practices. Since no one lives in a bubble, communicating your intention is already a best practice and sets a good example. It also allows an opportunity for others to provide feedback either on your communication skills or the subject of your message. Be open to feedback, flexible and willing to improve. As long as the new information allows you to remain true to yourself and focused, it’s a great opportunity for personal growth – and makes you more effective.
- Builds trust and credibility. When you see someone weaving in and out of traffic without signally, first of all, it’s annoying. More importantly, you tend to stay away from that person because you don’t know what they’re going to do next. The same thing applies in personal and professional settings. Keep the lines of communications open and moving and you’ll develop stronger, loyal relationships.
- Saves time and energy. In an ideal world, you could send your message out once and everyone would understand it exactly as you intended. Realistically, that rarely happens. However, the better you get at clear and consistent communications through whatever medium best reaches your audience, the more efficient you’ll become. And that reduces your workload, facilitates good relationships and frees up time for play!
Staying safe on your motorcycle requires you to be alert, attentive to what’s going on around you and applying your riding skills. The same principles apply to effective communications and building healthy interpersonal relationships at work, home and play.