Read an Excerpt
What's The Problem?
Why We Don't Communicate Well in the Workplace
Hello. I'm Sonya Hamlin.
How can a book about communicating begin from anywhere else? Anywhere else than acknowledging the typical order by which we all make contact with each other? And then using it, step by step, with you?
How can I ask you to listen to me any further unless I first let you do the usual checking we all do before we start to trust and gather interest in a potential "teller"?
If a stranger walked into your office and said, "Change the way you report your fourth quarter results. I know a better way," would you just do it? Surely not.
Well, you don't know me. Because we can't see each other a sense that could give you the first fast layer of information I'll have to unfold our relationship and go through the common order of developing trust through words alone.
Skipping the next order of natural business the usual handshake, smile, and "Glad to meet you" rituals when strangers warily draw closer I'll move directly to step three: What I have to tell and whether or not you'll "listen."
Listening doesn't happen automatically. It's based on how quickly I get to something you can use. You'll stay if I promise some new insights and alternative processes that could improve your life; some ideas that are important and practical enough for you to accept and want to try.
Now have we drawn closer? What have you learned so far?
Thisis a rather unusual way to begin a book.
She writes in a very personal, informal style (says "you" and"me" and not "one" or "they" or "people").
She asks me to think through an almost automatic process getting acquainted to find out what else is going on and why we do things a certain way.
She organizes her material into visual as well as verbal explanations (the list of "bullets" that visually tell you they'll explain further details of what was just said above).
Okay. Now you're beginning to get an idea about the style in which I'll talk to you and something of the focus I'll take.
To hold you and draw you in, I need to tell you what you can expect to find in these pages that will be useful to you. And I have to show you that I know enough about you and what you need for you to stay tuned.
What This Book Is About
This book is about getting what you want at work. I want to help you understand what happens in a variety of work situations when you try to express yourself, and to help you develop the new techniques you need for being clear and getting the responses you want.
We'll approach communicating as a complete process involving not only all of what you're about but what other people need from you to listen.
In each aspect of your work-communication we will:
Focus on another dimension: the unfamiliar one of finding out what else you really want and need before you plan your strategy.
Understand the hidden and predictable agendas on the other side of the desk: what does the other person the one you're communicating with want and need?
Gain information about issues common to all of us: what usually gets in the way as we interact at work: why effective communicating is often so hard to do.
Absorb some basic principles of communicating and why they work, in order for you to be most effective.
Show you it's safe to explain yourself your true self.
Help you learn to listen and hear and to see so much more.
Demonstrate how to observe yourself and others through forethought; gaining some new points of view and much more productive goals.
Learn how to prepare and design what you'll communicate.
Discover alternative communication processes through practical examples, showing you precisely how to put yourself and your ideas across to best advantage.
Practice these new techniques before you actually use them, allowing you to feel comfortable as you rework your communications skills.
Sounds ambitious? Too much to promise? We'll see.
But first there's one more piece of information you need.
How Do I Know?
Just like the stranger who walked into your office and told you to change how you always did something, I need to answer your next logical questions: "Who are you? What do you know? Why should I believe and accept your advice?"
I've worked as a communicator all my life, continually trying to solve the puzzle of how to get people an audience of one or many to become interested, stay tuned, and then absorb my message. Starting in childhood, as a dancer and musician, creating as well as performing, the challenge was to recognize that my audience doesn't know or yet care about this message I'm burning to give them. I needed to find a way, non-verbally, to get them to understand me.
As an adult, the challenge was first teaching the arts and then working with the most difficult audience to capture the television audience. Producing, reporting on the arts, making films, hosting my own talk show for ten years the letters (and the ratings!) gave me instant feedback about what works and what goes astray, even with the best of intentions.
So I turned to look at the real world: at what happens to us in our daily lives, at where and how we miss each other, and how I could add some clarity and new techniques to this seemingly simple, instinctive, spontaneous but often unsuccessful process communicating.