5. Relationship Management

Synchronous Communication

At the end of this lesson, you should be able to create opportunities to connect with others and recognise their different communication styles; and have developed self-awareness of your communication style.

Communicating in Real Time

Communicating in real time is referred to as synchronous communication. Synchronous means to occur at the same time, such as face-to-face conversations. With today's technology, that does not mean that you have to be in the same place, for example, telephone calls and webinars.

Synchronous Communication

The Pros and Cons

Real-time interaction provides instant feedback. Ideally, instant feedback leads to a deeper understanding between the communicators because:

  • questions are answered immediately,
  • connections are made between different ideas and concepts, and
  • exploration is encouraged.

However, the need for immediate feedback can result in regretful reactions. The timing of synchronous communication may be inconvenient, and people who tend to be shy often don't participate.

Five Ways To Improve Your Synchronous Communication

  1. Non-verbal communication is one of the most powerful tools of synchronous communication.  Whenever verbal and non-verbal communication is at odds, you better believe that the non-verbal message is the one to trust!

A man had been playing soccer for his local side. They won, and the celebrations went on long into the night, despite his girlfriend waiting for him at home. As the merriment continued, he and some of his teammates decided that it would be a great idea to drive to Durban to watch a PSL match there the next day. Being a dutiful boyfriend, he called to check if driving to Durban in the middle of the night would be okay with his girlfriend. Her reply: “Do whatever you want!”

If you were this wannabe Siphiwe Tshabalala, and you valued the relationship, would you:

  1. Jump in a taxi and head to Durban?
  2. Laugh off the idea and carry on drinking?
  3. Jump in a taxi and head home?

Monitor your pitch, tone, and other non-verbal cues. Around 65% of human communication is non-verbal. Your conscious controls your spoken word, but nonverbal communication can be ruled by the conscious or the subconscious. It is easy to lie with words, but it is tough to cover up a lie when it comes to facial expressions and subconscious gestures.

35% Verbal; 65% Non-verbal


For more information on becoming a non-verbal communication expert, download this additional resource.

2. Timing is everything. Even the best message can fall flat if the timing is bad. This is easy to forget when you are excited and focusing on what you want to share. For effective communication, you need to:

  • Curb impulsiveness.
  • Consider the other person - their state of mind, emotions, and time limits.
  • Decide to continue at another time if you get an unexpected negative reaction during a conversation. Assess whether the other person is ready to hear what you have to say.
  • Consider starting the conversation with, "I'd like to talk to you about [topic]. Is it a good time now?". Timing is particularly important with emotional or tough conversations.

3. Avoid communicating in a distracting environment. For F2F conversations that could mean busy streets, marketplace, construction sites, or railway stations. For a telephone conversation is could be doing other tasks while on the phone.

4. Take a moment to decide what you want to say, and select words that:

  • Express your ideas in a sensible and meaningful way.
  • Clearly get your point across. Don't leave your conversation partner guessing what you really meant.

5. Finally, the number one rule to improving your communication is to listen attentively.

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