Let’s talk, communication

I truly got into “nightlife” by writing for a print turned online publication back in 2013. Aside from contributing content (i.e. song or album reviews), I was also able to cover shows and interview some incredible artists. I then used those references to move onto other online publications. One of the main interviews that has, since, always stuck out to me was one with DJ Green Lantern. He, so casually, said, “hard work beats talent, when talent aint working,” and repeated it a bit slower for the imaginary crowd in the back of the room.

Since then, I’ve lived by that quote. When I’ve done my homework, done my research and even taken the necessary steps to reach the level of talent I want in that moment, it’s sometimes not enough. That’s when I’m kicked into overdrive. That’s when I’m working 7 days a week, 12 hours a day (minimum). When I’m not on my salary clock, I’m on my own clock: my writers clock, DJ clock, artist clock, event clock–tic, toc, tic toc. The hard work I put in, lately, means much more than the simple fact I can draft up some interview questions without it sounding cheesy. It means much more that I have ambition and drive, most times, than the fact that I can transition well during a set or select incredible songs to blend into a quality mix. My hard works beat my talent, because most of the time my talent alone does not work it.

More recently, I’ve been dealing with communication issues in life with family, friends, and business associates. Whether it’s poor communication skills or just straight up the lack of it, I’ve found myself challenged the most in my professional career. I’ve become more repetitive, more persistent, and less patient. I speak slower, think longer, and utilize more energy to contain my frustrations, when dealing with people that do not communication as effectively as I’d want. Then I thought to myself today,

COMMUNICATION BEATS TALENT, WHEN TALENT AINT WORKING

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While I’ve dedicated the past year to working on my communication skills due to silly mistakes and quarrels at my salary job, I’ve noticed my improvement BECAUSE of my frustrations with others. I understand my strengths, but also know that communication can easily turn that into a weakness. When you’re working with someone, you want to know that they’re still on the same page as you – even if they have no updates for you. When you’re in a relationship, you want to know your frustrations are being heard, even if your significant other doesn’t want to deal with the situation in the heat of the moment. You know, it’s the smaller things that stem from communication that make a bigger difference.

I also, still, understand that I’m nowhere near perfect, but I take pride in the fact that I strive every day to be a more effective communicator and listener, because listening is 70% of effective communication. I could sit here and write about all of my pet peeves, but, instead, decided to produce a list of simple ways to be a better communicator. The list stems from advice I’ve received from mentors, public speaking classes, past experiences, and some basic common sense. In business, you can be as talented as you are; however, if you do not know how to communicate effectively, there’s a chance you will not be taken as serious.

I hope this promotes more fluidity within your work flow as well as my own, and I truly am grateful for that one quote that has changed my outlook on almost everything I do in my daily life.

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 LISTEN

It’s extremely difficult talking to someone who is not willing to listen. When you’re having a conversation–business, pleasure, argument, etc.–you have to be willing to listen. Do not interrupt someone, when they’re speaking; it easily shows you’re already thinking of a response aka you’re not listening, just hearing. Try and understand where the other person could possibly be coming from in regards to what they are saying. Administering a little bit of empathy truly helps with listening, because it allows you to connect with someone’s words instead of coming from a combative and defensive space.

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THINK

It seems so silly to say this, but a lot of people don’t think before or when they speak. If someone asks a question, do you answer immediately? Do you already know your answer each time? If yes, you should slow down. Think about what’s being said to you; think about how that applies or does not apply to you. They can wait, they don’t need your answer immediately. It’s better to have a more well-thought out and concise response than an immediate answer to keep the flow of a conversation. Don’t be afraid of long pauses in conversations; it simply means you’re being careful about your decisions and value what it is you have to say. And, you value what you have to say because you took a moment to reflect about the best possible way to explain your thought process.

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WAIT

NEVER MAKE DECISIONS WHEN YOU ARE EMOTIONAL. Did you read that correctly? You should never, ever make decisions when you are overly emotional. Emotions cause irrational behavior, thus easily creating conflict with communication. If something has upset, saddened, or even overly joyed you and you have to make decisions surrounding that–wait. Take as long as needed to reflect on why you felt what you felt. It’s so easy to rationalize an answer or decision when angry. It’s so easy to make a foolish choice when sad. It’s easiest to get “caught up” when you’re really happy about something and overlook some hidden keynotes and fine print. Do not let your emotions affect how you communicate. If it takes you a week to get over something, so be it… (Working on “letting go” is another topic for another time.) Taking some time and space to evaluate the best decision beats irrationally making the wrong decision every time.

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LOOK OUTSIDE THE BOX

There are two sides to everything; it takes two to hold a serious conversation. Consider the fact that you might be wrong before assuming the other side is. Consider the fact that you both can be right! There are times when we can all be very sure of ourselves and our ways, excluding any possibility outside of our self-created box. Step outside of your comfort zones and understand that it’s okay to be right, it’s okay to be wrong, and it’s possible to be right and wrong. You can be factually right, but morally wrong; factually wrong, but morally right. At the end of the day you have to think outside of your box and consider how someone else might have designed theirs. Opinions are great because they make us who we are, but it’s easy to forget we can hold our own and still accept that of another’s.

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PICK UP THE PHONE

I watched a video recently that mentioned, “the people that are cutting real checks will get on the phone with you,”; meaning, if you’re looking to work with or for someone, you need to get  on the phone. Business can be done via email and text, sure… but effective and “top dog” business is always handled on the phone. If you can’t pick up the phone to request what you want or discuss what you’re interested in, then you’re not really interested. It’s so easy to hide behind a screen, I’m sure, but that’s how communication falls flat. You cannot and should not predict someone’s tone based off of text. It’s impossible to truly understand what needs to be said or done, when you’re relying on your fingers. If you have the gift of speech and hearing, use it… everyone isn’t so lucky to have easy access to communication.

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SPEAK

If you don’t communicate that you want something, need something, require something, like something, or simply deserve something… how are you ever going to be satisfied? I find it more in women than man, where speaking up is an issue. We easily come across–or, rather, are categorized–as “harsh”, “bitchy”, “rude”, and sometimes even “insane”; it’s silly. If you’ve taken the time to fully listen to someone else, but still require, LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD. You have to be confident enough in yourself to know that you deserve whatever it is you are requesting, whether that be to be heard, to be compensated, to be considered, etc. etc. etc. As much as many humans would like to be, we are not mind readers. Assumptions never get anyone anywhere, and it’s much easier to just bluntly ask for answers. The best way to get what you want is to speak up, plain and simple.

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