Clear and Effective Communication
Written and verbal communication skills are essential to all personal and business relationships. Communication could be as basic as small talk or expressing an opinion all the way to closing a major business transaction. The art of communicating clearly and effectively is one area that should not be taken lightly or, even worse, overlooked.
At its rudimentary level, effective communication is the exchange of ideas, thoughts, information, and messages between people or groups. But it’s not communication unless the message given is understood. Clear communication happens verbally, nonverbally, in writing, through behavior, as well as by listening and responding.
Whether you’re addressing an individual or a group, the art of communication can be quite daunting. Executive coach Joel A. Garfinkle offers the following steps for clear and effective communication:
Are You Listening? Do you really hear what others are saying? Listening requires your full attention. You must be able to offer feedback about exactly what you have heard them say.
Respect Your Audience as You Respect Yourself: You must understand that your message is not just about you or what you want. It’s about what’s in it for all parties. All parties must believe in your message, and you must truly care about the needs and the individual perspectives of each person you are communicating with if you want to be heard. If someone took the time to hear what you have to say, it’s equally important to recognize and respect that we each have different perspectives based on our positions, motivations, and needs.
Stay on Point: Be clear about exactly what ideas or message you are trying to convey to the other person or group. What do you want them to understand?
Two-way Conversations: Try to really hear and understand where others are coming from. What are they trying to say? What messages are they trying to get across to you? Do you really understand them? Pay attention. The message may not always be about what is being said; it may be about what isn’t being said as well.
Making Sense: Remember to ask yourself: Does what I’m saying make sense? Does the feedback I’m receiving make sense? What is the message they are trying to get across? Does it make sense that they have a certain perspective? When both parties in the conversation are able to say they understand and it makes sense, you have achieved clear and effective communication.
You’re Responsible for Any Failure to Communicate: If you are the primary communicator you are 100% responsible for the other person’s understanding of what it is you’re trying to communicate. If you don’t feel that you are being understood, you have failed to properly communicate. In that case, you must now recommunicate your message to ensure you’ve been truly understood.
Repetition and Feedback: An effective way to make sure what you are communicating is understood is to ask the person you are communicating with to repeat and interpret what you’ve said or asked. In order to guarantee the results you want, you need to make sure that what you’ve communicated can be clearly explained to you.
The benefits of clear and effective communication are virtually endless and are not hard to achieve as long you keep your message simple enough to be understood, interesting, and, most importantly, respectful enough of others to be respected.
Copyright ©2005-2019 Joel Garfinkle, All Rights Reserved.
JOEL GARFINKLE is recognized as one of the top 50 coaches in the U.S., and the author of 7 books, including Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level. He has worked with many of the world's leading companies, including Google, Deloitte, Amazon, Ritz-Carlton, Gap, Cisco, Oracle, and many more. Visit Joel online at Garfinkle Executive Coaching. Subscribe to his Fulfillment@Work Newsletter and receive the FREE e-book, 40 Proven Strategies to Get Promoted Now!