Now contemplate those cryptic individuals in your life who don't seem to have a clue what they want or perhaps don't express what they really desire from you. And then there are those that have had to deliver a disquieting message but they sweetened the pill so much that you didn't have a clue what they were talking about. Bet they aren't on your "people who inspire me" list.
What we say and do, and how we say and do it, both directly shape how others experience us. Many times the assumptions people form about us are constructed because of the way we communicate. And this then directly impacts how they communicate in return.
Communication is an art. If done well it enriches lifes repertoire. Thus the way that conversations are conducted carry influence, not only in the workplace but also in the community and in the home.
Conversations can be affected by ego, limited by the level of trust, and guarded for fear of being hurt or of hurting others. As a result, people often speak to others in ways that are evasive and guarded.
The good news is one can turn those once taxing conversations into effectual lines of communication by implementing a few easy and practical keys:
Communicate Frankly ALL the Time
Understand your Motivation or Purpose
Since the communication process begins with an intended message, be clear of your intentions, or what you hope to convey before you begin.
Identify a Favorable Time to Embark on a Conversation
If the person you're talking to is not an early riser, like me for example, it would be better to wait until as least until late morning (or after) to initiate an important conversation.
Set the Tone Early
This is an important and serious conversation, so commence by saying something like "Do you have a minute? There's something I would like to talk to you about."
Speak Slowly and Clearly
Focus on clearly enunciating and slowing down your speech. Even if you're pressured for time, don't rush through your communication. If you rush you may ultimately have to invest additional time in clearing up confusion, miscommunication and misunderstanding.
Say What You Mean
Frequently Check for Understanding / Ask for Clarification
If you are not 100% sure you've understood what others say, politely ask for clarification. Avoid assuming you've understood what's been said. Check both that you've been understood, and that others have fully understood you.
Practice reflective listening to check your own understanding (e.g. "So what I hear you saying is ~~~ ") and use open-ended questions to check other people's understanding. Inquire, "What's your take on this?'" instead of "Is that clear?"
Clearly spell out the specifics. Instead of, "Please get back to me soon,'" convey, "So I will expect to hear from you before 12 noon, tomorrow"?
Choose your Medium of Communication Carefully
Carefully choose your form of communication. These include face-to-face, telephone. E-mail, instant message, etc. Be mindful not to go overboard using email. While useful, there are times when this specific medium is likely to be ineffective. When a message is complex and complicated or there is tension or conflict that needs to be resolved switch to a medium where a two-way conversation can be held.
Commence At the Ebb of an Emotional Charge
If you are angry, disappointed, etc., share the information and tell them how the situation is making you feel, as your anger may be an integral component they need to be informed of. Here's a tip to consider and remember. Tell them about it, don't make them experience it.
A favorable way to communicate is to do it with a smile on ones face or with a polite inflection of the voice. People do not want to receive a sourly conveyed homily, to be talked to as if they were a child, or be greeted by someone who appears to have ice water in their veins.
Lousy news may need to be given, but make it a point to never let a communication be relayed with a negative tone in your voice, and you'll see your results pay off in the end!
Effective communication skills create a happier, easier and uncomplicated life. Time once consumed on arguments, conflicts and drama is now available to accomplish so much more!