Michigan State Association of Letter Carriers
Why good communication matters Miscommunication happens all the time. Sometimes the results are laughable and easily corrected. Other times, it can cause great pain or sorrow. Because of this ensuring good communication can be vital to a civil and pleasant workplace. When you work to make your communication better you also influence how others communicate with you, leading to even better communication throughout the workplace. People at times define communication as: I talk and you listen. This perspective does not often improve interpersonal relations, especially in difficult or volatile situations. A better option is the 90-10 Rule: Listen 90% of the time and speak 10% of the time. Listening is often a sign of respect. When people feel respected they reciprocate easily. By following this rule you show respect and earn respect. Another good rule to follow is; look at the person while they are speaking, if possible. By making eye contact you ensure them that you are engaged in the conversation.
When you are listening, try to focus and truly hear what the other person in the conversation is saying. Listening is both an art and a science, and too few of us practice world-class listening skills. Shop stewards can put good listening skills to practice on the work room floor, while addressing a letter carrier’s individual concerns and during an investigative interview (also known as PDI). The aver-age letter carrier can put good listening skills to practice on the work room floor and while out on their route addressing customer concerns.
When you actually hear what someone is saying, you can respond to them effectively and solve the real problems that are presented, rather than stuck in disagreement and misunderstanding. For shop stewards, this aids in requesting the correct information, drafting quality interview questions, and settling with an appropriate remedy. For the average letter carrier, this aids in limiting tension in the workplace and promoting customer and job satisfaction.
No matter what role or atmosphere you currently experience in your workplace, listening can have a positive impact.
I hope every one has a safe and joyous holiday season!
-- Jayme Romine