Looking to become a better communicator?

posted by on January 20th, 2016

Here are my top tips that may help remind you of a few well known standards. Feel free to share!

1. Show an interest in others, especially those who work with you. Make a point of sharing a little about what you are thinking and maybe some snippets about you, your life or your views. This will help you to develop rapport with those around you.

2. Learn to ‘actively listen’. When we really listen to people we offer them respect. Take care to take the time to tune into what others mean. Asking questions such as “what I think you mean is …..is that correct?”, can help to outwardly demonstrate that you are paying attention.

3. Make sure you clarify and offer a summary throughout conversations to ensure understanding on both sides. e.g. “So what I think we have agreed/discussed so far is….is that true for you”?

4. Always respond in a timely and appropriate manner. Even if you have nothing to update others on it is best always to say so. Build a reputation of responding quickly.

5. Analogies are useful tools that can help to put everyone on the ‘same page’! For example, one person’s view of “small” may be different than another. (e.g. “When you mentioned a ‘small box’, did you mean like a shoebox or a matchbox?”).

6. Focus and be present – effective communicators are ‘present’ for the people they are interacting with. Be with other person/people fully and give them all of your attention.

7. Email is useful as a ‘channel’ of communication. Nothing beats face-to-face communication or a phone call (followed up by an email to summarise and clarify action points if necessary).

8. Always consider your audience. Think: Is now a good time for them? Are they aware of what your aims/purpose for communicating are? Are they prepared, willing and able to communicate with you? Is your relationship with that person strong or do you need to do some ‘bridge-building’?

9. Customise your communication style to suit YOUR audience. Some people want to be ‘walked’ through step by step, others just want a broad brush approach. Listen and notice others language choices first and then adapt to match theirs.

10. Ask Questions to clarify rather than risk making assumptions or misinterpreting what people are thinking. None of us can read minds so stop and check in first before you start running on!!

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Thanks for reading.