Although the term public relations evokes the link between organisations (companies, institutions, government bodies, trade unions, political parties, etc.), the vectors of interrelation are always people, invested with a role. That is, the relationship between a company and a government institution is actually established by the person who plays the role of director or responsible for the government relations function, with the person who plays the role of public official.
With this we can realize that the quality of public relations depends to a large extent on the communication skills of the subjects of the interrelationship. This is why it is important for company managers or public relations officers to be effective communicators.
How to communicate effectively
Most people say they attach great importance to effective communication, but few make systematic efforts to achieve it.
A study by the Carnegie Institute of Technology (validated by some other complementary studies) showed that people’s financial or professional success is due only 15 percent to their technical skills, and 85 percent to their ability to interact with others. Moreover, human resources experts estimate that more than 80 percent of people who fail at their jobs are due to their inability to relate to people.
One of the communication skills to which few give attention and importance in the context of effective communication is listening… It seems paradoxical to say that to begin good communication you must first be quiet.
Knowing how to listen is an art. Many consider it not a skill to be developed. They think it’s a natural ability. Someone said of this, it is something we are born with’. Here are some recommendations to become better communicators by listening to our interlocutor.
Learn to listen. In this way you will be able to receive valuable ideas from your interlocutors. Sometimes we just let the person with whom we “talk” talk, while we prepare what we have to say, but we are not listening to what they want or need to say. Listening will allow you to know what your interlocutors think, need, want and expect. Studies show that good listeners are promoted more frequently than those who have not developed this skill.
Communicating does not mean filling every moment with words. Sometimes silence says more than words. Listen to what others are saying. Knowing how to listen talks about who you are, what you are and where you are.
Listening means taking time to assimilate what they want to tell us. Good listeners appreciate the power of silence and are prepared to feel comfortable with the pauses and wordless moments that naturally occur in conversation. Charles DeGaulle said: Silence is the last weapon of power’. Learn to use silence to your advantage as an advantage. You can make people feel that they have been heard.
We must listen with all our senses: hearing, touch, smell, sight and taste. Concentrate all your senses on listening to the words of your interlocutor. Don’t distract any of them in the process (e.g. by touching something, looking away or chewing gum); you will get more messages.
Take the time to listen to the full messages. There are people who take advantage of the pauses in the speaker’s speech to pronounce a sentence that ends the conversation. Another bad habit is to be anxious to express your views rather than concentrate on listening to your interlocutor. If you do not listen to all of the messages, you run the risk of not fully understanding the ideas they want to convey to you, and the conclusion you come to may be wrong.
Avoid responding to provocations or criticism by explaining to the person why we think they are wrong. Before that, check to see if you understood the substance of the message the person wanted to convey.