No communicators are excellent in every way when it comes to interpersonal communications. All of us have our flaws and areas for improvement. This is something that we should be aware of. In the absence of this self-awareness, we will be denying ourselves the opportunity to be excellent communicators. One catch about self-reflection when it comes to the ways to improve ourselves is this: it’s usually the case that we are unaware of the aspects of our communication process that we should improve on. I call this our “communication blind spots”. Thus, we need feedback from others, not to validate us but to enable us to further improve ourselves.
However, we will require opportunities (since not everyone are suitable candidates to provide feedback to us. Think courtesy bias) and time to further improve ourselves. Does this mean that there’s nothing much we can do in the meantime? Actually, no. There are two qualities that we can work on immediately. This is because developing these two qualities does not require substantial amount of time and effort. It just requires a change in mindset. So, what are these two qualities? It’s sincerity and dedication.
All of us can be sincere towards our interactions with people and situation. We should refrain from merely showing sincerity. In fact, showing sincerity is simple. Fulfilling a promise, meeting a friend on time, helping someone in need are all examples of how we can express sincerity. However, there are some of us who stop here. This is insufficient. When it comes to sincerity, we should live it. This brings us to the concept of intention. One can show sincerity in every aspects of one’s communication but if one’ intention is ultimately to deceive or to manipulate, then one is not sincere. In another words, we need to ask ourselves about what we wish to achieve with our intentions. If it’s altruistic in nature or for the greater good, then it’s great. If not, we need to question our intentions more closely, lest our sincerity become suspect.
Being sincere and expressing sincerity will enhance our interpersonal communication almost immediately. I am not saying this to satisfy one’s need for instant gratification of positive results but rather, I am saying this as a fact. When we are sincere both in our mind, heart and speech, others are able to sense our sincerity and this is always a good start to an excellent communication process.
However, sincerity alone is insufficient. Another factor is required: dedication. Dedication is inseparable from consistency. When we look at someone who is dedicated in his work, they are usually very consistently in their work, working on their project continually till their tasks are completed. So, how do we express dedication in our communications with others? We achieve this through a consistent display of sincerity with no signs of our goodwill abating anytime soon. Thus, it is through the coupling of sincerity and dedication that one achieves success in interpersonal communication.
Now, let’s look at how these two concepts work together in the classroom and the workplace.
In the classroom, if educators are sincere and dedicated in the coaching of their students, students are usually attuned to their teachings. When the students are aware that their educators are sincere in their approach and dedicated in their guidance, the students will reciprocate with their gesture of goodwill as well. Many educators use discipline to maintain order in the classroom. While this is a feasible approach, winning the hearts of students is equally or even more important. And to win the heart of students, sincerity and dedication is important.
In the workplace, employers are able to display sincerity by treating each of their employees in an unbiased manner and reducing office politics (which usually undermine the credibility of sincerity in the workplace seriously). Employers should also display dedication through their personal display of dedication in their work, putting in their best effort in all of their endeavours.
The importance of sincerity and dedication goes way beyond one’s ability to improve interpersonal communications. When others sense the existence of sincerity and dedication in our approach, I realise that they tend to ignore the areas that we might be not be very proficient in when we communicate with them. It seems to be human nature that we are often vulnerable to a sincere display of sincerity and dedication.
This is probably why Beauty fell in love with the Beast eventually. Although the Beast’s expression of sincerity and dedication is somewhat situational (he is a prince transformed into a beast by a witch of which only finding true love will allow him to recover his original form), it’s undoubtedly a fact that it’s sincerity and dedication that ultimately won the heart of Beauty.