This week I spoke with a group of business professionals on the importance of being an effective communicator. Technology, time constraints and the desire to do more with less has made this skill a necessity in order to be effective. Fortunately any investments in this area are easily recognizable on account of everyone else having their heads buried in Facebook or LinkedIn.
Here are four tips I provided them on how to be an effective communicator:
1. Ensure your message has meaning to the sender. Placing a message in the best interests of the receiver ensures that they are both receptive and eager to hear more. What do they want to hear and how might your message cater to this?
2. Carefully select the delivery method of your message. Our default communication methods are to use email and texting, two of the least effective means of communication. If the message is important, face to face should be your primary choice for delivery, with voice to voice second and email or texting third.
3. Technology is a tool, not a crutch. Try leaving your smartphone at home for a day. If you go through withdrawal, then you have a problem! Technology shouldn’t manage our time, we should be using technology to help us manage time. A warning, you may have to help others put their phones down if you truly want to have a meaningful discussion. Try leaving your phone in a drawer and only check it periodically (i.e. once every 2 hours). You will be surprised at the increase in your productivity.
4. Being an effective communicator requires we be influential in our messages. Not sure how to be influential? Just look at the presidential candidates and how they approach their campaigns. They listen carefully to any questions or comments; are consistent in their messages (even if they don’t directly answer the question); and they use language that enhances and strengthens their point, versus deteriorates it. Slang never enters their conversations.
Try employing these four techniques and watch how quickly you become an effective communicator. What’s the alternative, to be less effective?
© Shawn Casemore 2012. All rights reserved.