Businesses and personalities alike find communication easy, but they often forget that communicating well takes skill. Fortunately, for those that struggle with facilitating positive messages and exchanges of information, good communication habits are the product of regular practice. Keep in mind the following five things that effective communicators do and you’ll be well on your way to sharpening those skills and proudly communicating to fellow businesses, colleagues, and customers.
- Make sure your communication is reaching a personal level. Most people will not care or pay attention to what you are saying unless you are reaching them on a personal level. The personal level doesn’t have to be particularly deep; it just has to be present. A way to establish this personal connection is by paying attention to how the message you’re giving will be received by the other person. How will it impact them? Good communicators will provide information on the ways in which services and products will benefit their customers. This gives their audience a reason to listen and a reason to remember the message.
- Represent the facts you provide. Inaccurate information is not only useless, but it can prompt negative feedback and criticism from those that read it or heard it. If you’re not sure about something you’re saying or writing, either don’t speak it or say that you are unsure about it. Often times, we can get carried away in conversation and begin to speak about “facts” we only slightly recall from literature or from someone else. This can only discredit you as a valuable source of information. If the fact is unknown, it’s best to keep it out of your communication.
- Be brief and be specific. Good communicators know how to get to the point quickly. Not everyone has the time to read through long form content, especially if there is a purpose or call to action with your message. Understanding the value of brevity is not only something a good communicator values, but also a trait that is practiced frequently and appreciated by many. If you have something to say, simply say it. Ambiguity can actually discredit you, and superfluous words can end up boring those you are trying to reach. Good communicators respect the time of others and choose to use simply and straightforward words.
- Ask for feedback and clarification. While it’s necessary to make sure others understand your messages, it’s equally important to understand what they are saying back to you. Accept feedback and clarification whenever possible. The way in which you think the information you carry is important is exactly what the other person thinks about their information. Both communicators want to be heard and understood. Understanding each other’s message is vital in responding to one another. If you aren’t sure what someone means, ask for clarification! If you want to make sure you’re heard, ask for feedback.
- Listen. An enormous piece of good communication is the ability to respond appropriately to what another person is saying. This ability requires active listening and making the effort to understand everything that another is speaking. If you don’t listen, and therefore respond inappropriately, the person you’re speaking with will literally feel unheard, and even unimportant. Responding appropriately is not only required for effective communication, but it makes it all the more enjoyable for both parties.
What tips do you have for effective communication?