It’s no secret that communication is important — nor that it can often be hard to communicate effectively.
Body language and other unspoken forms of communication vastly outweigh the words we speak. Your tone, posture, and countenance speak far more than your words alone ever will. Being cognizant of those will go a long way toward improving your communication. Once you begin paying attention to what’s unspoken, then you can work on what you speak, to improve your overall message.
Here is a simple reminder about three ways you can improve your communication skills, and be understood.
Speaking directly and candidly are often the best ways to practice clarity of speech. When you rely heavily on metaphors, slang, euphemisms, and colloquialisms, you enable your audience to take away many different meanings that what you might have intended. This is all fun and games in a comedy routine, but can be disastrous in business.
A piece of advice that works well in marriage can translate to business, as well — don’t assume that the other person knows what you mean. Without condescending, simply tell them exactly what you mean, and don’t try to drop subtle hints. It might sound like tough love at first, but your employees (and spouse) will appreciate not having to guess what you mean and knowing that you are being straightforward with them.
Often we compete subconsciously (or even consciously) to win over the listener’s mind, to bring them to our side of the table — and in doing so, our communication can become long winded and perhaps even over done. Being concise allows you to convey the same message, completely, but without being repetitive or unnecessarily assertive.
Think before you speak and form the message that you want to convey in a simple form, without shifting blame or accusing, and allow the words to do their work rather than your body language.
It is said that love covers a multitude of wrongs. Simply being courteous and respectful, maintaining a low volume and kind tone will help convey your message without stirring up bad feelings in the listener.
There are times when communication should appropriately be more blunt and less courteous, like when someone is in life-threatening danger, but most other times, even when you have to let an employee go — simply being courteous in those last conversations will help things go smoother.
What do you think? Is there anything else I’m missing that would help? Use the comment section to give me feedback, or add in your own communication tips.