Communication – Getting the Basics Right First Time, Every Time!
Communicating is easy, but communicating well takes skill. Good communication habits come with regular practice and every manager should be continually critically assessing and refining their communication to recognise what went well and what needs further attention.
We seldom get the chance to have a second attempt at communication – management excellence is all about getting that opportunity to work for us in every possible way.
Good communicators exhibit mastery of 7 independent yet connected skills outlined below.
- Get personal
Good communicators establish a personal connection by focusing on how their message may impact the other person. Key preparation on this point gives the audience a reason to listen and remember what the message contained. This also allows the opportunity to reconnect many times with that audience or individual.
- Focus upon FACTS
Inaccurate information is worthless so the golden rule must ALWAYS be to use facts that are reliable and if you are unsure as to the validity of material do not use it or at the very least say you do are unsure as to its credentials. Delivering continually inaccurate information casts serious doubts in the minds of your audience as to your intentions and professionalism.
- Be specific
Good communicators cut to the chase and understand the value of brevity. If you have something to say, say it. Ambiguity and superfluous words are likely to bore people and discredit you and always use simple, straightforward words.
- Ask questions
Always ask questions. Always. Questioning the audience makes sure that your message has been understood and that some action is likely to follow as a result.
A neat piece of self-analysis would be to ask the audience “Am I explaining this well?” This invites the audience to clarify what has been communicated and for you to move forward with some certainty.
- Ask for clarification
While it is essential to make sure others understand your own points, good communication is a two-way process and greater emphasis should be put on what your audience says back to you so you can fully understand their points.
A big part of communicating well is responding appropriately to what someone else communicates. This requires knowing how to actively listen and making every effort to understand what they are telling you. If you do not listen and then respond inappropriately, that can make people feel unimportant and literally unheard. In addition to responding appropriately, attentive listening makes the exchange enjoyable for your conversation partner.
- Read body language
Listening with your eyes is just as helpful as listening with your ears. By looking for non-verbal cues you can more readily ascertain how someone is receiving your message, and then adapt accordingly. Furrowed brows, for example, can indicate that the other person is trying to understand your point, but not fully succeeding. If you notice, you can facilitate good communication by asking if there is something you can clarify.
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