The vulnerability of riding a motorcycle makes it an excellent teacher of communication skills. The immediacy and potential severity of the outcome when others misinterpret or ignore us, offers little room for forgiveness — so we have to be good. Using these same skills on the Road of Life promotes healthy personal and professional relationships.
- Attracts attention. With so much information coming at us 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 our intentions helps avoid accidents and prevent misunderstandings. While we still need to take into account that we haven’t been 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 (and levels of alertness). 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 was headed for the same lane, you may find someone else is already well underway on an action you were just beginning. That’s good to know and allows you to redirect your energy at something more productive.
- Reinforces best practices. Since none of us 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 ourselves and focused, it’s a great opportunity for personal growth – and allows you to be 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. 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 it was intended. Realistically, that rarely happens. However, the better we get at clear and consistent communications through whatever medium best reaches our audience, the more efficient we’ll become. And that reduces our workload, facilitates good relationships and frees up time for play!
Related Post: 7 Life Lessons from Motorcycles on Communications