In our wired world where so much of our communication is via email, text or through social media, I fear we have lost the art of effective communication. And by effective communication I mean not just sending a well-worded message, but achieving the result of the intended communication with the person at the other end of that communication.
For example, sending an email to someone and thinking your job is done in communicating whatever it is you needed to say is a false supposition. Effective communication only happens when you’ve been heard and the person on the other end understands what it is you are trying to say. In the old days it was called conversing.
So here are three tips you need to keep in mind if you want to be effective in your communication.
- First and foremost, give thought to who is at the end of your communication. It is not their job to try and figure out what you are saying, but rather it is your job to ensure that whatever message you are delivering is clear and understandable to them. The onus for clarity and understanding is on you.
- If your communication is via email, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just because you sent the email your responsibility is met for that communication. Depending on the importance of the situation, it may make more sense to pick up the phone and call that individual or to walk out of your office and have a conversation. If you are asking that person to act on something, it is up to you to ensure they have received your communication, understand it, and can act on it.
- The more personal you can make the conversation or communication, the more likely you are to avoid misunderstandings and achieve the desired outcome. There is a massive difference between a face-to-face conversation where you can hear tone of voice, read body language, and pick up other non-verbal cues compared to a conversation by text or email. So if the nature of the conversation carries import, then make the conversation as personal as possible. If you can’t get face-to-face, then use the phone.
This all might seem pretty obvious, but from my observations of communications today, I believe that we are increasingly failing to apply these basic principles of effective communications, especially in the workplace. This is a real issue because communication is at the heart of every relationship. And the more effective you are in your communication, the better you will be in connecting with people and the more effective you are in communicating with people, the more successful you will be.