Don’t let communication scare you!


Picture the scene: it’s a dark, October morning, the autumnal leaves litter the deserted pavement, the crunch from beneath your shoes echoes as you tentatively step through the fog under the grey sky - dark violet seeping through the clouds. The feeling of unease slowly growing the further you travel. The silence is consuming you, fear slowly seeping down your spine, as you reach the corner of the road. No, this isn’t a scene from a horror movie; you are on your way to work the morning of THAT big meeting or conversation that you’ve been dreading. Sound familiar? It shouldn’t.

Whether it’s a meeting with a big boss, an event with hundreds of attendees, or just a conversation that you are unsure how to handle, the thought of communicating can be unnerving. But communication doesn’t need to invoke feelings of horror; instead, see it as an opportunity to learn, develop and collaborate with others.

Purposeful ignorance merely feeds the true monster of communication - avoidance

Like any fear, the more you avoid communication, the worse it can become. Purposeful ignorance merely feeds the true monster of communication - avoidance. The more you give into it, the more it will linger at the side-line, expanding until it engulfs the whole culture of the business.

So, how do you summon the courage to face your fear? Begin by thinking positively: see communication as an opportunity to learn and grow. On your commute, or during the planning process, think of three positive reasons for having the meeting or conversation. What do you hope to achieve? How will this help others? How will it create a more positive environment for your colleagues?

Don't serve up a poisonous cocktail of disengagement

Secondly, don’t contribute to the fear. If you and your team are nervous about communicating change - like witches around a cauldron - you’ll stir up unease, dread and apprehension to be absorbed by others in your business, serving up a poisonous cocktail of disengagement.

Create positive communications by explaining the benefits and explaining the 'why': not only will this lift apprehension, but it prevents the 'too hard to do' communications being abandoned and ignored in a spidery cobweb in the corner. And don't be the monster that your team are dreading: during all communications, show respect and create a two-way relationship.

So, there’s no doubt about it, of course we can feel anxious about a presentation or a difficult conversation, but if you prepare, think positively and don’t become the monster yourself, you should be able to calm the beast inside you this Halloween. 

Darya Meszkes