To evaluate my communication skills here is a brief list of my strengths and weaknesses together with suggestions for improvements.
Thanks to an experience of almost 20 years in the software development field I feel confident and relaxed explaining technical problems even when the subject is complex. In these situations, I try to anticipate and predict possible causes of confusion. I do my best to give all of the background information and details to make sure that my message is understood. Recently I learned that to communicate more effectively I can use emotional intelligence because it helps me to get better at understanding and managing my emotions in positive ways, so I am studying how to use it every day.
Especially with technical conversations, it is quite easy for me to understand when receivers are interested in the conversation. When I recognize positivity, I use it to motivate people. To be able to notice the feelings of my interlocutor I have to pay attention to the nonverbal signals, never forget to focus on his tone of voice, use good eye contact and ask questions.
I am a naturally curious person and avid learner. To fulfil my will to learn I read diverse kinds of blogs, books and white papers. I also have the habit to listen without judgement, ask questions, and be open to others opinions rather than being right. This approach takes time so to maintain this strength I need to allocate time for it and also to always reflect on the past to learn from mistakes in a non-negative judgmental way.
While self-criticism is something we all do, I think it is a task I could get better at. Sometimes this behaviour led me to have a negative and pessimistic attitude that can easily influence my communications. To get better at this I could think before I speak or write a message, avoid jumping to conclusions and trying to keep an open mind. I could pay more attention to the tone of your voice and my body language to always have an effective discussion that never became an argument.
Another area of improvement is my ability to maintain the focus on the important tasks I am asked to perform in my position. I recognize that I can easily get distracted by other things so what I could get better at is planning my activities and learning to prioritise important and not urgent goals. This attitude impacts my communication skills because I do not allocate enough time to properly carry on all the actions required by the communication cycles. As suggested by Stephen Covey, to overcome our urgency addiction we can shift our paradigm from urgency to importance (Covey, 1989). By putting first thing first we can identify main priorities and improve communication to be more effective.
I am Italian and English is not my mother tongue. My knowledge of the English language is enough to carry out all my job activities with no problem, but I am aware that today I still have a limited English vocabulary and I could invest more time to improve it. This situation is easier to handle with written messages, but it is more challenging in verbal communications. To expand my English vocabulary, I could develop a more consistent reading habit or play word games and subscribe to “word of the day” feeds as a fun way to achieve the same result.