Session 6, My Communication, follows perfectly on from the previous session, My Behaviour, as altering our behaviours almost always requires effective communication.
Could you improve the effectiveness of your communication? Would you like to feel different when you’re handling challenging conversations, or any conversation for that matter? Session 6 helps us refine our communication skills, allowing us to be more productive, confident and understanding in any given conversation.
I’ve taken a number of really significant learnings from this session:
- Communication is something we can develop, just like we work on any other skill
- Not everyone communicates in the same way
- It’s important to adapt your communication style depending on the other peoples’ styles in order to communicate most effectively
- Difficult conversations are going to arise throughout my life, so there’s no better time than the present to begin working on the skill
I have always been a pretty straight talker. I don’t tend to sugar coat things; I just say it how it is. This trait of mine has sometimes resulted in me being perceived as not very compassionate and lacking in emotion. These are labels that were placed on me by my family at a relatively young age which has resulted in an easy ‘out’ for me if I know I’m coming across this way. I received this feedback a long time ago. Showing compassion and empathy has been something that I’ve worked on for years, but it wasn’t until The Ivy House Award that I began to make some real progress.
I do have emotions (believe it or not) but conveying them in a genuine and authentic way has been somewhat of a long-standing challenge for me. My dad has a relatively similar communication style, and it’s for this reason that he’s never had any issues with me being straight talking and unempathetic. It was only an issue when talking with those who had totally different ways of communicating that my style was not received well, for example, my mum and my sister. Following the Ivy House Award, I began experimenting with different ways of communicating and approaching conversations with an open mind. I sought to notice and understand the different approaches various people took, and tailor my approach to fit in with theirs more easily. What I found is that conversations are far more pleasant and productive when I tailor my communication to the person that I’m communicating with. When laid out so simply, it’s seems easy! The Award set me on the right track and explained how and why it’s so much better to be adaptive than uncompromising.
Looking back on my journey of improving my communication skills, it seems like such a simple change, but it has had a significant effect on my relationships. Not only this, but I feel so much more confident in my ability to handle any conversation, as I know that, whomever I speak to, I am able to be adaptive in my approach so that the best outcome is achieved together.
Not only is adolescence a significant challenge in itself, sixth-form gives us unrelenting hoops to jump through, all of which will require interaction with others. Communication skills are only beginning to matter in sixth form, and they become very important very quickly. From familial turmoil through to future managers and bosses, we’ll face it all at some point. The Ivy House Award supports students through their journey of understanding the logic behind developing conversational and communication skills, why they are so important and why developing their skills will make their lives so much easier.