Getting the message across: interpersonal communication

By Ben Oakley

If you only have a hammer in your tool box, then everything is a nail.

In other words, you approach every job in exactly the same way. Hammer it in. If it doesn’t need hammering, tough luck – hammer it anyway.

Now apply this to communication. Do you approach every situation in exactly the same way? Or do you vary your approach according to the requirements of the situation and the needs of the people involved? Which of these approaches do you think an employer would prefer?

Knowing yourself: a self-evaluation questionnaire

A key part of effective communication is being able to evaluate your own communication strengths and weaknesses and beginning to understand how others perceive you. One tool that can help is use of a short one page self-evaluation questionnaire (see link below). You may complete this yourself but it would be more powerful if you also asked trusted friends or colleagues to also rate your skills.

Communication Skills: Self-Evaluation Questionnaire

We are not presenting this as a golden nugget solution to communication; however, it will help you begin to identify how you interact. Developing self-awareness is a feature of those who are able to effectively communicate.

Ideally you might also complete the questionnaire and think about the subtlety different ways you respond to different groups such as work or classmates compared to closer friends.

Any feedback on this questionnaire would be gratefully received.

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