Communications Competence: Where Are You?
The communications process is quite complex in every aspect of life. This is especially true in business and, in particular, print and related industries, where every detail matters. Organizations are made up of people—and communications patterns are complicated.
On top of this, we must know that our world is noisy and fast-paced in nature. This is just a fact. While some organizations complain, I see others taking advantage of this modern landscape. In consulting with companies and speaking to many groups across the country, I ask them the following question: What level of competence is your communication in?
The goal in this process is to define where your communications level is today in order to best determine how to improve tomorrow. We all want to grow, right? And let’s face it, communication is the backbone of every organization. Period. The four stages of communications development are listed below and, as you read, think about where you fall (no matter what your title may be).
The first stage of communication development is referred to as the unconsciously incompetent segment. In this stage, a person is not aware of what he or she knows. In this stage, many people think they know more than they do and tend to overestimate their overall knowledge, skills and abilities. This can be dangerous.
The second stage of communications competence is that of being consciously incompetent. In this stage, a person is now aware of how much he or she knows or does not know. It is during this second stage that people realize their need to learn, grow and improve, and are no longer over-confident.
The third stage is referred to as being consciously competent. This is a good place for a person to be. In this component, a person is cognizant of what he or she is doing well and also effective at what he or she does. So think of people in this third stage as those who are committed to “lifelong learning.” They are good, but still need to think about it, and realize they must continue growing to reach the highest level.
The final developmental segment is the fourth stage. This is when a person is unconsciously competent. People in this stage have become so competent that they no longer have to think about things in great detail. Simply said, their competence is ingrained and comes as second nature. This should be where all people want to get, albeit, with the understanding that nobody should ever stop learning and that we can all learn something new each day.
What level of communications competence are you in? Where are you in your communications journey? Do you want to grow? If so, let’s talk. There is no better time than a new year to become a more effective communicator.
Ryan T. Sauers has spent 25 years leading and/or consulting with printing, graphics, promotional and visual communications related organizations. Ryan is President of the independent consulting firm, Sauers Consulting Strategies, founded in 2010.
Key areas of focus of the firm include: sales training, marketing strategy, personal branding, leadership development and organizational change.
Sauers is a frequent national speaker and columnist. He has been recognized as one of the top 80 CMOs in the world and achieved the top designation of Certified Marketing Executive through Sales and Marketing Executives International.
Sauers is an adjunct university professor teaching leadership and communication courses to current and aspiring leaders. He is a Certified Myers Briggs, DiSC and Emotional Intelligence Practitioner (one of few in US to achieve all 3 rigorous certifications related to human communications, personality & behavior).
Sauers is working on his Doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership and hosts a radio show in Atlanta (Marketing Matters). He is author of the best-selling books Everyone is in Sales and Would You Buy from You? More info at: RyanSauers.com