Practicing Better Communication

This is the 3rd post in the communicating better series, and we are getting close to the end. I’ll wrap this series up next week so if you have any suggestions please let me know.

So here is something you probably didn’t expect. In middle school and Jr. High I played basketball. Amazing I know. I started off initially as a point guard because I couldn’t shoot to save my life but I was excellent at dribbling and passing. I hit a growth spurt before anyone else and for 1 year played as power forward before being demoted back to point guard and never grew another inch. By the time I broke an ankle that put an end to basketball for good I had actually become fairly good. The secret was that I practiced and played every single day.

Andre Agassi talks about in his book Open how he would hit 2,500 balls a day, every single day. Agassi is famously quoted as saying “If you don’t practice you don’t deserve to win.” Is it any wonder why the most successful athletes like Agassi, Tiger Woods, and Michael Jordan are known for their amazing amount of practice time?

As I’ve said before in this series, communication is one of the most important things we do. Doing it well is absolutely vital to our overall success. Just like hitting a fade away 3 pointers was vital to Jordan’s overall success. If this is so important shouldn’t we spend a large amount of time practicing it?

Instead what we do is we blindly throw up free throws and hope they go in. We shoot off a response on twitter without thinking. We throw up a blog post in the heat of the moment as soon as someone pisses us off. We write out a quick speech out line and get up and deliver it. Then we wonder why we suck.

If we took the time to think about the things we are communicating every time we sent a tweet how much better would our interpersonal skills become? If we wrote something every day how much better would our blog post be? If we spent time working on our speaking ability in our daily meetings how much better would we be when we spoke at a big conference?

Just remember though, practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes better. If you don’t think you could not be a little bit better then perhaps you should practice your humility a bit, because we can always become better. Then maybe if we all got a little bit better at communicating we would find that others are a little bit better at communicating with us. Then maybe we can find that better communication brings better relationships, and that is a very good thing.

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