Communication - your key to success
We all share a fundamental drive and commitment to communicate. Communication can be defined as the process of understanding and sharing meaning. You share meaning in what you say and how you say it, both in oral and written forms. If you could not communicate, what would life be like? A series of never-ending frustrations? Not being able to ask for what you need or even to understand the needs of others?
Being unable to communicate might, in many ways, even mean losing a part of yourself, for you also communicate your self-concept - your sense of self and awareness of who you are.
Do you like to write? Do you find it easy to make a phone call to a stranger or to speak to a room full of people? Perhaps someone told you that you don't speak clearly or your grammar needs improvement. Does that make you more or less likely to want to communicate? For some, it may be a positive challenge, while for others it may be discouraging. But in all cases, your ability to communicate is central to your self-concept.
Take a look at your clothes. What are the brands you are wearing? What do you think they say about you? Do you feel that certain styles of shoes, jewellery, tattoos, music, or even automobiles express who you are? Part of your self-concept may be that you express yourself through texting, or through writing longer documents like essays and research papers, or through the way you speak.
On the other side of the coin, your communication skills help you to understand others. Not just their words, but also their tone of voice, their non-verbal gestures, or the format of their written documents provide you with clues about who they are and what their values and priorities may be. Active listening and reading are also part of being a successful communicator.
As social beings, we want to trust each other, our character and our integrity. The speed of the Internet, technology and, importantly, how people behave on the Internet can be a constant treadmill. Consider the proportion of people who say that other people can be trusted, the proportion who belong to social organisations, the divorce rate, the unemployment rate, the quality of government, and religious belief.
Values in people can also change. In the last 50 years we have become increasingly independent and individualistic. We are ever more influenced by the Internet and versions of the 'survival of the fittest'. Charles Darwin said, 'It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change'.
I conducted many years of study using evidence-based research that showed that there was a very clear connection between communication, strategy and business development, and life growth. We know enough now to see which strategies will increase productivity, emotional and human engagement, and strategic planning and development for life growth.
In life, to some extent or other, all of us carry a reflection of the experiences of our lives. However, whether and how we succeed is determined, at least in part, by how we cope with those experiences and what we learn from them. The only exception is that nobody has ever written transparently across the highly-complex world in which we live and operate within our business and personal lives. People try to divide their lives, but the reality is we only have one life. I want my readers to walk away with determination never, never to give up on the dream. The dream becomes reality and you are the master of that journey.
My final thought in the matter is that a society cannot flourish without some sense of shared purpose. The current pursuit of self-realisation will not work. If your sole duty is to achieve the best for yourself, life becomes just too stressful and too lonely and you will be set up to fail. Instead, you need to feel that you exist for something larger and that very thought takes off some of the pressure.
We desperately need a concept of a common purpose, a common vision and a sense of working together to achieve the one overall goal. Human happiness comes from the outside and from within. The two are not in contradiction. The secret is compassion towards oneself and others, and the principle of the greatest happiness is essentially the expression that we can all share connections. Perhaps these are the cornerstones of our future culture.
I believe now is the moment to define our terms. Fast is busy, controlling, aggressive, hurried, analytical, stressed, superficial, impatient, active, quantity-over-quality. Slow is the opposite: calm, careful, receptive, still, intuitive, unhurried, patient, reflective, quality-over-quantity. It is about making real and meaningful connections - with people, culture, work, food, everything.
In the end, of course, any business is only as successful as the people who make it up. With this in mind, it is important to look at what makes people most satisfied - and therefore most productive. At the same time, we can finish at the same place we began: with the importance of communication and connections.
Working more does not usually make us more productive. Unfortunately, technology has increased the pressure to work more, simply because technology has made it easier for us to do so. And, in the process, it can change the balance of our lives at work and also outside of work.
The world of technology enables many changes, not the least of which is its effect on our social behaviour. We are often less interested in discussing problems face-to-face, in maintaining commitment in intimacy, in sharing values or in communicating our love for one another. Just as technology is an efficient tool for dispatching tasks, it can be an efficient tool for dispatching people too.
Geoff Hudson-Searle is an international commercial director, Digital Non-Executive Director, CMO, CEO, CCO, thought leader, mentor and strategist, lecturing regularly on the principles of integrated strategy at worldwide forums and events. His book, Meaningful Conversations is available from Amazon: amazon.co.uk/Meaningful-Conversations-Geoff-Hudson-Searle-ebook/dp/B01MZ96P8T