How often do you speak to people on a day to day basis? How do you communicate…. face to face, phone, e-mail, reports, presentations, text, IM? Think about it…. we communicate in team meetings, with clients, peers, family and friends. We spend most of our day communicating in one form or another. The sign of a good communicator is not on how well you speak but if you are understood. What few people realize is that when our communication is not clear, we are not only misunderstood, but it can also lead to unnecessary conflict. Effective – clear communication is a key tool in increased productivity, and can boost your professional opportunities and you are seen as a more credible person.
Top 5 Practices for Clear Communication
1. Be Specific
Often we think specifically but speak generally. We use pronouns like he, she, it, this, assuming that the person knows who we are talking about. Additionally using general statement leads to confusion. For example ” You are not a good team player” What does that mean? The speaker needs to be more specific. For example: “When you did not help George with his report you were not being a good team player.”
2. Be Concrete
Giving concrete details on your message helps the receiver get a clear picture of your message. For example: “If you buy the blue bulb it will save you money.” The receiver of this message is wondering… how much money? A better message would be: : the blue bulb will last 4x longer than a regular bulb and will save the average household $45 a year.
3. Be Complete
A clear message gives the receiver of the message all the information they need, and to take action if appropriate. If your massage requires the receiver to take action have you included “what specifically” needs to be done, and “by when” the action needs to be completed? Have you included all relevant information… names, dates, times, locations, and so on? For example: I just wanted to remind you about Friday’s all hands meeting, at 11:00 a.m. in training room 201. I am bringing pizza’s for the group, so please give Ashely your pizza topping request by noon today.
4. Check Your Information
Accuracy is key. Is your communication correct? Are your facts correct? Have you checked for grammatical mistakes? Are names spelled correctly? Is the language you are using fit the receiver’s level of understanding ?
5. Be Courteous
No insults, slams, name-calling, or passive- aggressive tones. Messages that insult others can start office conflict, lower productivity, hurt morale and hinder your credibility.