If you’re trying to learn to communicate effectively, the first step is becoming more self-aware. Self-awareness is vital to effective communication. But…what exactly is self-awareness? And what does that mean in the context of how we communicate with other people? In this blog, the communication training course team at Thinker Base will discuss the connection between self-awareness and strong communication skills.
What is Self-Awareness?
Self-awareness is a simple concept that can be a monumental challenge in reality. Becoming self-aware pushes us to accept all aspects of ourselves without bias. We understand our strengths and our weaknesses. We find out what drives us to succeed and what causes distress.
Self-awareness isn’t just a switch we can suddenly turn on and see everything clearly.
There is a process of becoming self-aware. In fact, self-awareness can be such a tough process for people, that it’s often overlooked or pushed aside in business, in education, and in relationships.
To learn more about the importance of self-awareness, we want to introduce you to Gary Vaynerchuk, an incredibly successful entrepreneur, and motivational speaker.
Gary covers the concept of self-awareness in his book #AskGaryVee. Self-awareness is such an important topic that Gary not only wrote an entire chapter about it in that book, he then recorded the audiobook and released that specific chapter for free. He also instructs readers to read that chapter twice. It’s that valuable.
We think Gary is spot-on in saying that self-awareness doesn’t get enough attention. Plug your headphones in and listen to his take on the importance of self-awareness.
A lot of what Gary has to say is in relation to business and sales and marketing. Whether or not that’s in your arena doesn’t matter. What matters is what he’s saying about the importance of understanding your own strengths and weaknesses.
“Know you,” he says. “Self-awareness. Know your communication style, put yourself in that best position.”
Why Self-Awareness is Vital to Effective Communication
If you become more self-aware and learn your own strengths and weaknesses, you can then choose to focus your energy on your strengths. Like Gary says, triple down on them!
But, here’s the thing: You can’t always get what you want. You might have to work with someone that you just cannot for the life of you communicate with effectively. You might have relatives or in-laws you just cannot see eye-to-eye with, but you have to interact with them regularly at family gatherings.
This is when self-awareness is vital to effective communication.
If you know your strengths, you can play to them in difficult situations. In a communication context, that means understanding your own preferences and tendencies and recognizing when you’re pushed into distress mode.
Once you learn these signs and behaviors in yourself, you can mitigate the rising potential for further conflict. If you’re not self-aware, you can’t avoid the problem.
In PCM we recognize that each communication preference or style comes with specific psychological needs that have to be met in order to avoid distress.
If you don’t take care of your needs, you experience burnout, physical ailments, exhaustion, and more.
If you don’t recognize those needs, it’s easy to miss the signs and to prevent reaching those levels of distress.
Working on Your Self-Awareness
Gary Vaynerchuk has a great suggestion for starting to work on your own self-awareness. Beginning at 3:08 in his audiobook, he says to take the 10 people who know you best and tell them you want to understand yourself better. Ask them to be brutally honest and truthful about you. Gather all that data and then evaluate it in a black-and-white way.
Learning more about yourself also means learning what makes you feel good. Focus on those things that energize you in a unique way.
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The second aspect of self-awareness is knowing what you’re not like. We want to know our strengths and our weaknesses. Acknowledging where we fall short is just as important as knowing where we succeed.
Knowing this will help you so much when you’re interacting with other people.
For example, knowing that you’re an emotional person and that your spouse is a logical person will save you from headaches and arguments. Just take a look at the couple in this hilarious video below.
Aside from this video being really, really funny, it also speaks many truths. Many of us frequently face these types of self-awareness and communication issues that this video portrays. We’ll explore this in-depth in a future post.
The importance of understanding yourself and your own communication behaviors extends beyond a partnership.
For example, knowing that your employees just want to have a laugh and take things easy, but you have strong values and believe things should be done in certain ways. If you can reach this level of understanding, it will help your bottom line and turnover rate far more than you can believe.
Imagine creating the perfect product and then being able to effectively market and sell that product because you know how to use perceptual language based on your self-awareness.
Recognizing what you’re not like is crucial to effective communication. You’ll then be able to identify those behaviors in other people, which can reveal weaknesses in your team, or it can help you to identify personality types that you’re biased against, or it can highlight the types of behaviors that’ll cause you to become fatigued and experience burnout.
This level of self-awareness and implementation of PCM tools will change the way you interact with everyone around you.
Learning Effective Communication
Thinker Base offers workshops and one-on-one coaching on PCM topics to help you become more self-aware and to learn to communicate effectively.
The Process Communication Model offers the tools and training you need to take those steps forward. Whether you think you already know yourself or you constantly struggle with difficult interactions with others, PCM tools can help you.
In learning the Process Communication Model (PCM), you will focus on your own self-awareness first to understand your communication behaviors. This is the basis of effective communication.
Once you understand and recognize your own behaviors, you will begin to understand and recognize how other people communicate.
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