Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Power of Communication

In today's society of immediacy and electronic devices, the art and power of communication seems to be a disappearing skill. The advent of email and text messaging has quickly made the concept of a phone call almost obsolete. All too often when asking staff members if they've spoken with a parent, they can quickly reply with, "I've sent several emails." While email is great and so is text messaging, there is no substitute for a good old-fashioned phone call. Might they take more time? Yes, most often they do. However, the relationships that can be built through a conversation are much stronger than those built through a letter. There is no substitute for the tone in a person's voice or the sense of urgency that can be displayed.

When working with students, it is important for us all to remember the POWER of our communications with them rather than for us to think that we have POWER because we are communicating with them. Unfortunately, adults can have moments where they utilize their position as a position of power to communicate with students. Barking orders, making demands, raising voices... All methods of communication which we all know are not good, appropriate, or helpful. They merely elevate tensions and make situations worse. We all benefit when we utilize the power of communication in a positive way. More often than not, disrespectful and unruly students lack the self-awareness and control to think. As adults, if we can utilize our outstanding communication skills and habits that we have, we can ensure that any situation ends without incident or escalation. Using a calm voice, not being afraid to walk away from a confrontational student, and keeping body language open and warm are all methods of communication that we know work.

Either way you slice it, having positive relationships with students, families, and colleagues is cultivated through the power of communication. Good, timely, and transparent communication is vital to building these relationships of trust and maintaining them. So, when talking to your students, think about what your body language and tone are saying, not just your words. The next time you're thinking about sending that email, consider picking up the phone instead. It all pays off in the end.

Worth the Read...

Take a Moment to Self Reflect and Grow...

Next time you find yourself in a situation where your anxiety is rising and your blood pressure boiling, take a moment to step back and think. Take a deep breathe before speaking or responding to whoever you are engaged in conversation with. You will find that a clear thought and calm voice can change the course of any conversation.