Communication is a part of daily life. Before I make it to the office, I have communicated via text, email, phone calls, and probably made a few gestures while driving. Once I arrive at the office, there’s chit chat in the hallway with coworkers, presentations and meetings, more emails, text messages, and phone calls. Even if you are living off the grid, it’s highly unlikely that you can get through even one day.
With all of this experience communicating we should all be experts, right? Unfortunately, that is not the case. More often than not, these methods of communication leave us feeling misunderstood and our needs unmet.
Ultimately, the goal of communication is to get our message across, to be understood and to have our needs met. So, we all benefit from efforts to improve our communication skills. Strong communication leads to meaningful connections, improved teamwork, and problems solved more efficiently.
In our fast-paced world, barriers to effective communication are all around us. Multitasking leads to distracted conversations, technology leads to misinterpretations…it’s easy to see why we are so frustrated when we think we have communicated clearly, but our needs are not met.
So, what’s the secret to getting what you want? Focus on three key points in your communications.
1. Make sure your message is Clearly Defined. To clearly define your message, you should:
Choose your words carefully
Avoid overcomplicating your message
Provide details as needed
Avoid vague statements.
Here is an example of a message that is not clearly defined, “Hey, can we talk about that project so I can get ready for the meeting?” The recipient of this message has been caught off guard, doesn’t know what project the speaker is referring to or how urgent this project is.
Consider this alternative, “Kerry, do you have 15 minutes today to talk about the Underhill account? I want to prepare for the meeting tomorrow.” In the second example, the speaker asked for time and specified how much time and what project they needed to prepare for. He or she also communicated urgency by mentioning that the meeting is tomorrow.
2. Make sure your message is Carefully Delivered. To carefully deliver a message, you should:
Consider the receiver’s communication style
Check for understanding.
Have you ever taken the time to compose a carefully worded, detailed email only to receive a one sentence response not addressing all the points? Despite your best intentions, your email was likely not the best communication method for this recipient. Perhaps a shorter email asking for a meeting would be a more appropriate approach to deliver this message and get your questions answered While some clients or coworkers may prefer a detailed email, it is important to pay attention and choose the best method to deliver your message to each person.
3. Make sure you are Committed to Mutual Understanding. To be a committed party in a conversation or any exchange of communication, you need to:
Ensure all parties are present
Pay attention to body language and tone to validate understanding.
It is important to understand that it is not just the receiver’s responsibility to understand; the communicator also has to be committed to understanding. Your responsibility as the communicator is to choose appropriate moments and methods to communicate your message effectively and check for understanding by interpreting non-verbal cues and asking questions that confirm understanding.
No matter how business, society or technology changes, we will all still rely on communication to get our needs met. Improving our communication skills will benefit us in our work and personal life. If your company has unique communication challenges, contact FUEL it to schedule an interactive session to discuss techniques and tools that may help in improving your company’s specific communication challenges.
About FUEL it
We ignite organizational results with strategies, training, and performance solutions. We exist to help power the transformation that drives your company's growth and success by aligning your goals, processes, and activities to a framework that generates results. If you want to learn how to apply these leadership and management skills in your organization, contact us today. We offer a variety of custom and ready-to-use content, delivered online or through a series of facilitated workshops.