How Well Do You Communicate
The exchange of information, ideas, feelings, attitudes and values depends on successful communication. Through successful communication we develop those skills with whom we work. Communication is a vital management tool. Take a look at the following ten ideas, they can help you to improve your communication techniques:
Examine Your Objectives Before Communication
What do you want to accomplish? Are you talking just to be heard or to reduce your own frustration? The more specific you can be in establishing objectives will measure your success. The sharper the focus of your message, the greater its effectiveness in producing the results you want.
Know Your Receiver
We are bombarded with a myriad of messages from different sources each day. It is our nature to interpret these messages in terms of how they affect us personally. Your communication will be more successful if you anticipate your receiver’s needs, interests, and goals.
Load Brain Before Speaking
Once you know your objectives, take time to organize your presentation. What are the main points? What is the supportive evidence I need? Set your priorities for the presentation. Plan your message so that it is appropriate to your objectives and your audience.
Consider The Setting And The Time
The impact of your communication will be strongly influenced by the physical setting and the climate for receptivity. Should you talk in private or in a group? Over the phone or face-to-face? Should the message be in writing? Is the time right?
Pre-Test Your Message
In making an announcement, decision or action there will be consequences. It is a good idea to check out your message with fellow managers or a target audience to get a better idea of probable effects. A pre-test can give you added insight and objectivity and also give you time to revise the message if necessary.
It Isn’t What You Say But How You Say It!
Actions can speak louder than words. Your tone of voice, facial expressions, choice of words, pauses, interest in reactions… ALL have an effect on the receptivity of your audience. If the actions are wrong, the words may be forgotten.
Communication is a two-way process. Keep the channels open. Get Feedback. Use non-directive questions that draw out the receiver(s) so you can tell how your message is being received. Avoid asking leading questions.
Listening is a skill. Using active listening skills (paraphrasing and feedback) will draw out the receiver. If you want the receiver to act in a certain way as a result of your message, plant the right seeds and get him/her to come up with the right idea as well. Then you’ve got commitment and involvement.
A very common complaint among employees is that management constantly changes the “message” without explaining why. Don’t allow a credibility gap to develop between you and the receiver because you have sacrificed consistency for expedience.
Most communication in business is action oriented. Follow-up to see if your communication has achieved your desired objectives. If not, find out why and plan to be more effective next time!
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