By Geoff Feldon
I believe that poor communication is one of the main reasons for mistakes in business today. These can be simple things like forgetting to tell someone where you are going to major mistakes like letting a customer down, producing the wrong goods or demotivating staff.
How then do we ensure that our communication is always effective? No matter how much attention you pay to your communication you may still drop the ball at times. However, by being far more aware of how you communicate, you can keep these to a minimum and rule out any major communication breakdowns.
By understanding and appreciating what the potential barriers to communication are you can be far more aware of how to frame the communiqué.
There are different ways we communicate.
1. Face to face
2. Skype or teleconference
4. Voice Message
5. Letter or Memo
7. SMS, WhatsApp etc
In all of them the actual words are obviously crucial but in the first two visual (body language) plays a major role while in 3rd and 4th voice, tone (para language) play a role.
Being aware of what channel you use and the effect of voice, body language and of the words is the first step. Secondly you need to consider who the communication is going to and how the following barriers or pitfalls may affect your message.
Personal beliefs and values
Lack of attention of the receiver
Being too subjective
Poor listening skills
Too much Information
Too little information
I know this seems like a very long list and may be thinking “how can I get it right”. Most of the time the potential barriers or pitfalls will be very obvious if you just think about who you are sending the message to and what you want to communicate.
The next element to consider is Empathy. This does not mean sympathy or agreement but simply putting yourself in the others persons shoes and seeing it from their point of view. particularly if you dealing with a conflict situation.
Communication is of course a two-way street and you also need to have good listening skills. Do you listen to Reply or too Understand? Too often we are already forming a reply in our heads before we have even finished hearing the message.
This is the important bit – listening is NOT hearing. When you listen you need to fully engage in what the message is and make every effort to ensure you understand. give feedback and ask for clarity. It is often said that it the sender’s responsibility to ensure the receiver understands the message but if you become an effective listener you will become a much more effective communicator.
• Prepare yourself to listen
• Focus on the speaker
• Put other things out of mind and
• Concentrate on the messages that are
• Being communicated
• Listen to the tone
• Wait and Watch for non-verbal communication
What to consider when communicating
• What is the objective
• Which channel to use
• How to communicate the message
• Keep it simple
• Be aware of barriers and pitfalls
• Listen effectively
• Feedback to ensure the communication is effective