Communication is an engine; an engine that propels the skilled communicator to greater opportunities and improved outcomes. The best communication skills are strong and solid… and distinctly different than hard and rigid, BUT ALSO have the ability (and natural properties) to be soft and flexible at times, especially when the heat is on.
Often, the opposite occurs. When the pressure of life gets turned up on us, many people’s knee-jerk communication skills become rigid and inflexible… this creates the perfect storm for poor outcomes resulting from bad decisions and bad execution in the moment.
You see, communication skills are best caressed. Yes, there are objective mechanics that should be adhered to, but there’s also much that is subjective and requires caressing and finessing for maximum positive impact.
Masters of influence understand that great communication necessitates an ongoing “caress of steel.”
Caress (suggesting)… soft, gentle, & conditional; an art form.
Steel (indicating)… hard, rigid, & unconditional; a science.
Rush, the prog-rock patriarch’s 1975 album Caress of Steel is comprised of long tracks broken up into multiple sections and passages. Such is the communication process. It’s not a sprint, but an epic marathon with specific stages and sections that require attention, analysis, and adjustments at various times during the journey.
Discussion and dissection of the communications process is not always popular with people, but critically important in the big picture. It’s the engine that drives all other outcomes, personally and professionally. Communication skills need to be caressed for the benefit of your circumstances. It’s most definitely an art form, which is why it’s often so difficult.
So commit to caressing those communication skills to your advantage in the many situations and circumstances you find yourself in… your personal and professional careers depend on it.