Communication – A Thinking Skill of Two Halves
Being able to communicate well is possibly the most useful skill you can possess. Even if you have the most innovative ideas or know everything there is to know about a topic, without the ability to communicate effectively, this wealth of knowledge remains buried within you. Conversely, some of the most successful people are not necessarily the most knowledgeable, their ‘secret weapon of success’ is their highly developed ability to communicate.
As a company specialising in training in thinking skills, we are sometimes challenged about whether communication is really a thinking skill. Well of course this depends to some extent on definitions, but from our perspective communication is most definitely a thinking skill. The quality of our thinking directly affects how effectively we communicate.
Communication is a two-fold skill. One half, ‘reception’, involves listening and reading. The other half, ‘production’, concerns writing and speaking. We need to be able to receive communication from other sources as well as produce our own communications.
Some of us are better at one half of communicating than the other half. For example, a great many people who we consider to be excellent speakers often fail to listen well – usually because they’re thinking of the next thing they are going to say themselves.
Working on areas of the communication spectrum where your skills are weaker, will improve your broader communication skills.
Over the next few weeks we will be publishing a series of articles on how to make improvements in each of these key areas: listening, reading, speaking and writing. I hope they will give you food for thought!