Developing Effective Communication Skills

communication speech bubbleBeing a manager, salesman, husband and father, I often question whether I’m communicating correctly to get somewhere near the responses I would like from those I’m communicating with. Sometimes conversations that should have been clear and simple don’t go as intended. Understanding how to get your message across, and taking responsibility for being understood are key components of effective communication. One thing’s for sure, to be truly effective and have influence, you have to work at it.

For effective communication, here are some key areas I like to consider:

  1. WHAT is the message you would like to communicate? Make sure you are clear and concise about the content of what you would like to convey.
  2. HOW would you like to communicate your message? What language will you use? How would you like the message to be received? Consider your tone of voice, pace, and pitch. Be mindful of your body language; facial expressions, attention, eye contact, use of space.
  3. WHO are you communicating with? Make sure your content and delivery is appropriate to the recipient/audience.
  4. WHEN is the right time to communicate your message? Timing is often crucial. Being aware and empathetic of your recipient/audience and where possible, evaluating the best environment and moment to interact. This could make all the difference between success and failure.

When desiring positive results from communicating, being a little more strategic will definitely help and will encourage personal development. Put some time aside to prepare and have some structure to what you would like to achieve and how you will go about achieving it. I find the What/How/Who/When approach helps me with both verbal and  non-verbal communication. I also have a rule that I read emails I have written, three times before I finally press send. This ensures the message I want to transfer is true to my intent. Plus I never write an email or make a phone call in anger. It goes without saying that clearing your head and being in a positive state of mind will be to the benefit of all involved.

While some planning will go along way, having a script will make the exchange rigid and unnatural. Effective communication also involves listening and processing, we need to be adaptable. Consider some of the likely responses and outcomes. Try to be honest and have integrity and you won’t go far wrong.

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