Posted 25 November 2011 by Chris Farmer
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How to Communicate Effectively
In order to do well, you will need the cooperation of others.
You will need to gain the cooperation of many people, including:
- Your partner
- Your bank
- Your customers
- Your suppliers
- Your colleagues at work
Failure to gain their cooperation will mean either:
- They won't help you
- They may even actively hinder you
So gaining the cooperation of others is crucial to your financial survival and success.
It is in your best interest to devote yourself to improving your ability to influence others.
You could do THAT by developing your communication skills.
In what specific ways can you improve your communication skills?
Here is a list of five ways you can improve your communication.
- Get the pacing right
- Reduce your message
- Be logical
- Be emotional
- Be patient
Here are the notes on each:
1. Get the pacing right
When speaking, get the pacing right.
Talking too quickly is a common error.
Why is it an error to be a fast talker?
It is an error because; you already know what you think, so it is possible for you to say your thoughts very quickly: But the other person does not yet know what you think.
For them it is new material.
For each element of your message, the other person is forced to go through these five mental steps.
- They have to hear it
- Understand it
- Think about whether they believe it
- If true, they must form an opinion: is it good or bad?
- Then they react emotionally to their opinion
And that mental process takes a certain amount of time: Maybe two seconds for each piece of your message.
So, if you talk too quickly, then you overwhelm their mental mechanism and they will stop listening.
On the other hand, if you go too slowly, they will lose interest.
When speaking, think about the correct pacing.
Not too fast: not to slow.
2. Reduce your message
Just as the mind has limits on speed, it has limits on volume.
It can only take in so much, in one sitting.
Most people can only retain up to about nine "bits" of information in their short term memory.
If you go beyond that limit, then you will overwhelm them, in terms of volume. And remember that, nine is the TOP limit. Maybe you would be better off reducing your message down to five or six points. I have limited this piece of writing to five major points. Why? Because if I had earlier written: "Here is a list of 356 ways you can improve your communication", you wouldn't read it. And even if you did read it, and then I tested you a week later, you would probably have retained only about nine of them! Take into account the limits of human attention span. Don't say too much. Minimize your message.
3. Be logical
To make your communication understandable, then you've got to make it, make sense. i.e. there must be some logic to it. If you want to affect people's minds, then there must be some feeling of an organised intelligence, behind the words you say. If what you say is an illogical, incoherent rambling: then you probably won't convince them. If what you say makes, at least, some sense, then your chances are improving. Strive to organise your message so it makes logical sense.
4. Be emotional too
Logic is good: but it is not enough.
You need also to appeal to the emotions!
One way to do that is to make your message relevant to the individual self-interest of the listener.
For example: compare these two statements
1. "Last night, someone won 2 million pounds on the national lottery."
This statement creates only a small ripple of an emotional response.
2. "Last night, YOUR ticket won 2 Million pounds on the national lottery".
Behold: A new level of interest!
Because, at heart, we are all most interested in what concerns us personally.
So, if you can personalise your message, to make it personally relevant to your listeners, then they will be more interested.
5. Be patient
When you are dealing with people, you will need to be patient. Other people have the annoying habit of:
- Not doing what you want them to do.
- Not doing what they said they would do.
- Not understanding what you thought you had made clear.
- Having opinions that are different from yours, and are therefore, obviously wrong!
I have not yet found a way to solve these dire problems!
I suspect that you have not found a way, yet, either. So, we will have to be patient and expect that relationships with other people will continue to be difficult.
But then, that is the game of life:
If you can discover the methods that will allow you to inspire the cooperative efforts of others, then that will be of tremendous value to you.
Figure out how you can inspire the best cooperative effort from other people.
For more information about communication skills training visit the Corporate Coach Group website