“No one would talk much in society if they knew how often they misunderstood others”.   Johan Wolfgang Von Goethe

The importance of building good relations between people lies in the way we communicate.

Debra Fine, has written the book: “The fine art of confident conversation. Fine gives us insight’s in how to improve our communication skills and how to build stronger relationships.

The challenge seems to lie in how we choose to communicate within different areas. The most challenging of them would be the confident talk. Fine differentiate confident conversation from the rest as important talk and the difficult conversation. “It’s talk that is seen as an in-depth exploration of business, personal values and opinions, political, religious, cultural, or other complex or potentially controversial topics”.

The author says that if you are becoming a better “confident conversationalist” you will learn to understand other people’s ideas, feelings and desires. In return people will understand your ideas, feelings and desires. This makes it easier to make sure everyone is playing on the same team.

When you are talking to a co-worker or colleague, good communication involves a collaborative dialogue. Fine puts it this way; “it takes two to tango, meaning that you and your colleague are both responsible for the communication that transpires between you. In other words, if there’s a mis-communication, you’re both at fault”. It is better to find a way to solve the problem than aggravate it by pointing fingers.

How well do we listen ? Often people underestimate the value of remaining quiet. We can have a tendency to talk too much and interrupt other persons just to make sure our viewpoint is heard.

In her book: Conversations for Change, Shawn Kent Hayashi say’s that successful communication isn’t only about speaking well and choosing the right words, or walking away from the conversation feeling that your point of view was “heard”. You need to know how to connect with your listeners to communicate effectively.

“It’s not what style you are, it is what you do with your style that matters most”.

-Bill Bonnstetter

Ralph G. Nicholas and Leonard A. Stevens has written the article “Listening to people” in Harvard Business Review on Effective Communication. In this article the writers try to emphasize the importance on how people listen, and they open up a subject of which is of practical importance to executives. In general people do not know how to listen. “They have ears that hear very well, but seldom have acquired the necessary aural skills which would allow those ears to be used effectively for what is called listening”.

Our listening ability is affected by our emotions, we turn off when we do not want to hear, and open our ears when someone says what we want to hear. Our emotions act as aural filters. ” At times they in effect cause deafness, and at other times they make listening all together too easy”. How to cope with these emotional filters is not easy in practice according to the writers. However, it can be summed up in this simple admonition: “hear the man out”.

The benefits of improvement of listening and to make people aware of how important their listening ability is, can be of great value for the business. If people in organizations fail to hear and understand each other, the result can be costly.

” I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen”   Ernest Hemingway

Inger Lise E. Greger, MSc. Change Management 



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