Communication is one of my passions, especially in my consulting work and with my linguistics background. It always intrigues me when I hear people say, or when I see on people's resumes that that are self-proclaimed "good communicators". What is more interesting is that many people mistake "clear" or "firm" communication with good communication. Human beings relate to each other in extremely emotive ways, and communication is one of the strongest methods we use to grow relationships. Hence, if I had to define "good communicator", for me it would be someone who whilst communicating clearly, also has the ability to enhance the emotional state of the person they are trying to talk to. The best communicators, I feel, are the ones who are clear yet are able to effectively maintain their audiences mood, even when relaying bad information.
This indeed is a skill that requires more than a skilled use of language or non verbal cues such as gestures - it is the real deal, the complete package, that ever elusive bar to strive towards. It is having empathy and care for the recipients feelings, it is deriving a balance between your own message and their reaction, it is understanding their needs in choosing the right language, it is providing security through your body language, and inspiration through your clarity of thought and expression.
In fact, in my experience, many people who say they are good communicators, are often the ones who are merely willing to speak their mind. Sometimes, this isn't the best message, nor is it conveyed politely or with tact, however these people hide behind a facade of being, sometimes to an extreme, "communicative". However a willingness to brashly orate does not indicate skill nor craftmanship, and indeed an insistence on this method can sour many situations and relationships. Just because you've done the deed, doesn't mean you've done it well.
In fact the same qualities that are commonly associated with class and fine standing are those of a good communicator - restraint, tact, gentility and an ability to touch the masses with your grace and kindness. In addition, the same qualities often associated with great leaders are also tenets of good communication - inspire, lead by example, and to always relate, rather than react.
Part of my consultancy work is about assisting people to become more capable in the workplace by learning effective communication methods, and understanding how utilising these skills can greatly impact your standing in your organization. This may include public speaking, handling difficult conversations, achieving results through fine-tuning your writing/speaking style, and more. Indeed, part of my train the trainer work also involves communication - students can be affected greatly by the lilt in your tone and the messages you send with your speech and body language.
Are you a good communicator? Do you ever think about what it takes to be a good communicator? Have you ever thought about how tutoring in such a simple thing, the one basic skill that separates human beings from the rest of the animal kingdom, can vastly improve your life in all aspects? The above were just some Friday afternoon ramblings about a topic I'm extremely passionate about, and I would love to open more discussions about it!