How would you rate yourself as a clear communicator?
Do people always understand your message?
Or when you speak, do you suffer the problem of other people NOT properly understanding your exact meaning?
You need to develop the skill of clear communication
It is important that you do, because if you don't; then you are in danger of becoming an unclear communicator; and unclear communicators cause trouble.
Have a look at the following graphic.
We can split your communication into two major sets:
Communication that is 'good'; and Communication that is 'no-good'.
- Good communication is clear communication.
- Communication that is 'no-good' is unclear communication.
Let us look at both sets.
Good communication is clear, meaning:
1. Specific communication
Your language can be classified as being specific or vague language.
Your goal is to speak and write in as specific terms, as is possible.
- Use specific verbs.
- Use specific nouns.
For example, a nonspecific verb phrase would be, "I am going to Brussels". A more specific verb phrase would be, "I am flying to Brussels".
For example, a nonspecific noun phrase would be, "Would you bring my things in from the back of the car?" A more specific noun phrase would be, "Would you bring my briefcase and coat in, from the back of the car?"
Think about the way you word your message, especially in regard to nouns, ( a noun is a word that denotes things, ideas, people and places). And also think about your choice of words in relation to verbs, (verbs are words denoting actions, or emotional states).
If you are talking about your feelings, then think for a moment and specify the exact emotion that you are feeling and the exact reason for it. Be specific in your use of words.
2. Numerical communication
Your language can be classified as being numerical or ambiguous.
A numerical message relays information in terms of numbers, wherever possible.
An ambiguous message does not use numbers and is therefore open to multiple interpretations.
For example: An ambiguous message would be, "Would you send me some extra training manuals over to me, ASAP. I need them ready for next week's course".
A numerical message would sound like this, "Would you send me an extra 9 training manuals to me, so that I receive them no later than 6th June. I need them for next week's course on the 7th June".
Can you see how using numbers increases the clarity and therefore decreases the possibility of error and confusion?
3. Defined communication
Your communication could be classified as defined, or generalised.
To be understood, you need to define all your major terms.
If you want someone to be, "more professional", then you need to define your term, "Professional".
The way to define any term is to take the following two steps:
- Define by naming its general class name and then
- Define by naming its three of four most essential characteristics.
For example: If you wanted to define the term, "table":
The general class name is "furniture" and the three or four most essential characteristics are: "flat horizontal work surface, about waist high, that is supported by one or more legs, and a table is for the purpose of resting objects upon it".
Defining "Positive attitude"; its general class name is, "A desirable character trait," and the three or four essential characteristics could be; "optimistic, cooperative, likeable and goal orientated".
One last example, define "productive day". A productive day is "a day in which your efforts have resulted in measurable progress towards your stated goals".
An ill-defined message is one that is filled with over generalized language that has no definite content. Politicians and astrologers are the usual suspects for writing prose that holds no definite content.
Here is an example of astrologer's horoscope language:
"Relationships are fluid - people are moving in and out of your life all the time, whether you realize it or not. Value what your friends give you and let them continue on their own path. Ultimately, we are all individuals who need to take our own journeys. Is there someone special you've lost touch with? Get in touch with them - even if it's just to say a final goodbye".
Can you see that this kind of communication is devoid of real content?
Here is an example of politician's speech:
"If you want change; if you want a fairer society that works for the many, not just the few, if you want to see your children growing up with a proper education and in a secure, safe society; then you have a simple choice to make: either vote for me and get the opportunity you and your family really deserve; or vote for the other party and continue to suffer the injustices that has plagued our great nation for too long.
Vote for change. Vote for progress. Vote for a better Britain.
Vote Conservative, Vote Labour, Vote LibDems, Vote Greens, Vote UKIP, etc.
Can you see how this kind of communication is also devoid of real content?
It is rhetoric with no reason.
Instead of speaking or writing with no reason, no content, no clarity, no specificity, no definition, do the opposite.
Write with clarity: use numbers; use specific verbs and nouns, give definitions.
Is that, clear?