We all have had those moments - you know, those times in a conversation when the blank look slides across their face and we know that they didn't get our point - or when what comes back to us as a result bears no resemblance to what we asked for.
What would it be like to be able to communicate effectively? What is it that has us be powerful in our communication sometimes, and yet at others fail miserably in sharing our ideas?
We've found that there are four things that are usually missing when a communication fails:
Clarity in the message
Being conscious of the other person's situation(s)
Listening for what will make a difference in moving the conversation forward
Using the Rule of Three
Clarity in the Message:
This is probably the most easily added component of an effective communication, yet it is often the first thing we drop out. Do you plan what you are going to say? Do you practice it? Do you have someone listen to you as you say it so that you can get feedback on the effectiveness of the communication? Each of these practices will have your communication be as clear as possible.
Practices: Write it out! Go ahead and script out your message - determine who you are talking to, what they need to know to move forward, and your intention in communicating. Practicing knowing what you intend to accomplish in the communication.
Many times we begin speaking without taking into consideration what is going on in the other persons life. At that moment, for us to be effective in our communication, we need them to be focused on us, rather than on whether the babysitter showed up, their reports are on time, or how mean their mother in law was at dinner last night. Take a moment at the beginning of your communication to be sure you have the full, undivided attention of the person or people you want to communicate to.
Practices: Begin your communication with a question - for example, " Is there anything you need to say or do before we get started ? " or simply " Can I have your undivided attention for 5minutes?"
It is amazing how powerful Listening can be! When you are committed to powerful and effective communication, it is vital that you listen for what will move the conversation forward. Listen carefully to what others say, then ask yourself, how can I answer that in a way that moves us forward to my intended result?
Using the Rule of Three
Ask any marketing person, any business school graduate, any master of communication, and they will tell you that it takes three communications for a message to have a chance of being delivered. Therefore the "old" Rule of Three is:
Tell them what you are going to tell them
Tell them what you want them to know
Tell them what you told them.
You have the opportunity in every communication to leave the other person (or people) empowered to action. And that's the topic for our next article!
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