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How to be an Effective Communicator

How to be an Effective Communicator

How to be an Effective Communicator

The primary purpose of communication is to make ourselves always clearly understood.

If we cannot make ourselves understood, then our communications will be fraught with misunderstandings, confusions and errors.

Here are six ways to make ourselves more clearly understood:

1. Speak in Affirmative Language

Divide language into two parts: affirmative and negative.
Affirmative language tells people what we DO believe in, what we DO stand for, and what we will do.
Negative language tells people what we do NOT believe in, what we do NOT stand for, and what we will NOT do.

It is important to talk in the affirmative. Tell people what your goals are, what you do believe in, and what you do intend to do.

Speak in the affirmative and avoid negative language.

2. Give Reasons for Everything

In addition to telling people what you do believe in, it is important to tell them why you believe it.
If you don't give people reasons to believe, then they will have no reason to believe!

Always provide people with good reasons to believe that what you're saying is true, right and fair.

The degree to which you can prove that what you are saying is true, right and fair, is the degree to which people will act in accordance with your thoughts.

3. Use Numbers

Many statements can be clarified by adding numbers.

For instance, rather than saying, "Can you send me those documents ASAP?"; instead say, "Can you send me those documents ASAP, but no later than 6pm?"

Without the numbers, can you see that ASAP has no definite meaning?

And in order for your words to be clearly understood, they must all have definite meanings.

4. Give Definitions of Key Ideas

When we speak, we use concepts that have multiple possible meanings. When any concept has multiple possible meanings, there is a potential for it to be misunderstood.

Therefore, it is important to define all concepts that have the potential to be misunderstood, because, if anything can be misunderstood, it will be!

For example, if you say, "When you go to the interview, make sure you're appropriately dressed," then it is important to define what you mean by 'appropriately dressed'.
If you do not define your meaning, then they will assume their own meaning; which may not correspond with what you intended.

Another example:

If you say that a person was "aggressive," then that gives no definite description of the person's behaviour. In order to be clearly understood, you must define exactly what behaviour you are referring to when you say the word "aggressive".

You might say, "He was pointing his finger and shouting."

Only when every term has been defined, are your words clearly understood.

5. Limit the Amount

People can only deal with a limited amount of information in one sitting. If you overwhelm people with too much information, then they will forget all of it.

It's best to limit the amount of information you give to people in any one session, so that they are more likely to remember it.

Don't overwhelm people with too much.

Limit the amount to between five and nine pieces of key information.

6. Summarise

At the end of a conversation, summarise the key points and confirm understanding.

In addition, summarising is good for the memory, because people are more likely to remember things that they have heard more than once.

Communication Skills Training

If you want to improve your communication skills, please attend our one-day communication skills training course.

About the Author: Chris Farmer


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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Further Reading in Communication - Clear Communication

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