Nov 09, 2015 / by Alisa Hafen / No Comments

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We’ve all heard that saying: “Talk is Cheap.” When I hear that, I believe that should be followed by another famous proverb, “Action speaks louder than words.” In other words, we must make sure that our talk is not cheap. Whether in business or personal, we must communicate with each other if we are going to succeed.

I speak at many businesses and have found the one element essential for success is communication. Management must be able to talk with their employees, and employees must feel they can go and talk with their leaders. If there is something you feel needs to be addressed, yet feel uncomfortable going to your boss about, perhaps there is a suggestion box where you can state the problem anonymously.

As an employee, you really can’t blame the boss for not fixing a problem if he isn’t even aware one exists. Once a problem is brought out in the open, it has to be addressed. Your employees need to feel that you will always at least try to fix the problem. This is where “Actions speak louder than words” must be followed.

Leaders should be empathetic to the needs of their employees; they must take the time to listen to those people who work for them. Whether it is a small business or large, open communication is essential. Leading by example is also important. With the technology the way it is today, as a leader, you must feel that you are always being watched, and act accordingly.

I also speak at many schools and youth organizations. I consider this a real perc – a privilege. The youth of today face many more problems than we did when we were their age. And if I can just reach one of these kids, it’s worth it.

As parents, teachers, clergy, scout leaders, etc., anyone that spends a lot of time with young people, we have to be on the watch for someone who might be struggling. If you notice a loner, or someone who was outgoing and suddenly becomes withdrawn, seek them out. There might be problems at home, and, if approached by someone who really cares, he/she might open up and tell you what’s going on.

As parents, be aware if their grades start slipping. Talk to them. Maybe they are being bullied at school or on the internet. Be very aware of what sites they are looking at and make sure if they have a Facebook page, you have access to that and their friends. There might be something going on with them or a friend, and if you can establish “open communication”, you have a better chance of helping them.

Whether it be at work or home, communication is essential if you are to succeed. Make sure what you are saying is not only heard, but understood. Spend more time listening than talking and try not to answer a question with a question. Don’t dominate the conversation – let others speak, especially at home.

Follow the above tips and the probability of having a more successful business and happy family will greatly increase.