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How to be a Better Communicator

How to be a better communicator

4 ways to be a better communicator

Being able to communicate effectively, is essential both at work and in your personal relationships. Here are the best four ways to improve your communication skills:

  1. Talk about what you want, not what you don't want.
  2. Use specific rather than vague language.
  3. Give logical reasons to support every opinion, plan or suggestion.
  4. Always be polite.

1. Talk about what you want, not what you don't want.

In any situation, there are two sets of information to consider: The positive set and the negative sets. Or, to put it another way, in any situation there is:

  • What you do want, vs what you do not want.
  • What you can do, vs what you cannot do.
  • The "Can-do part of the job", vs the "NO-can-do-part of the job".

When talking or writing, ensure that your content is focused 80% onto the positive "Can Do" part of the message. Only 20% should be about the negative elements.

  • Spend 20% of your time talking about the problem.
  • Spend 80% talking about the possible solutions.

2. Use specific rather than vague language.

When speaking or writing, you have the choice to employ either,

  • Vague and general language, or
  • Precise and specific language.

For example, in each of the following pairs, which is the most specific use of language, and which is the most vague.

  • Dog / animal
  • Burglary / crime
  • Daughter / relative
  • Just / Ethical
  • Money / Reward

In each of the cases above can you see that the first version, is more specific than the second?

The rule for effective communication is, Clarity is better than vagueness.

Unless you have a definite need to remain unclear, then you should strive for greater clarity in your verbal expression, ie "dog", rather than "animal".

Your task as a communicator, is to transfer the mental images that are in your mind and reproduce them CLEARLY into the listeners' minds.

You do that best by using clear, specific language.

3. Give logical reasons to support every opinion, plan or suggestion

In addition to speaking in affirmative and specific terms, you need to provide good "reasons to believe" that what you are saying is true, good, right and practical.

  • You can prove "truth" by naming the facts that led to your conclusions.
  • You can prove "good", by naming the consequences that will follow if your ideas are applied.
  • You can prove "right", by naming the moral principle that underpins your ideas.
  • You can prove "practical" by naming the steps that can be taken today, which will initiate progress, towards the achievement of the goal.

You must be able to demonstrate that some sound reasoning underpins your ideas.

If you cannot demonstrate there are good "Reasons to believe", then they will have NO reason to believe or accept your ideas.

Always think about the reasons why, what you are saying is true, good, right and practical.

Always give people reasons to believe.

4. Be always polite.

Here is a rule to remember: treat all people with politeness.

  • Even if you disagree with them; be polite.
  • Even if you are critiquing them; be polite.
  • Even if you don't like them; be polite.

Remember that any rude, vulgar, or abusive language says more about the speaker, than it does about the object of the conversation.

Always maintain your linguistic standards, and never drop below the level of politeness.

Here are two phrases you could learn and use, every day.

  1. "Instead of that, in future, would you please......." (plus, a request for a specific behaviour).
  2. "Thank you very much for XYZ, I very much appreciate it".

I use these two phrases regularly and would like to recommend them to you.

For example: "In future, would you please put the cup away, after you have finished." or "Thank you very much for putting the cup away, I very much appreciate it."

Summary

To improve your communication skills, always:

  1. Communicate an affirmative message.
  2. Use specific words and phrases.
  3. Provide some good logical "reasons to believe".
  4. Always be polite.

Thank you very much for reading this post, I very much appreciate it.

About the Author: Chris Farmer

Chris

Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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