Become an Effective Communicator


#LeadandLift | Episode 48 | Vanessa Spiron

Communication has the potential to either solve or create more problems. There are many benefits to being an effective communicator - not only to yourself but also to others around you. In the same way, there are also a lot of risks in mishandling communication.

“Communication mishaps is something that we can all relate to because we constantly have it because we’re constantly communicating.” - Chabidaye Jaglal Ramnath

Vanessa says that “communication has a dramatic impact on your environment, your culture, and the world around you” and she’s right. Try and remember the last time that you had a communication mishap, how badly did it end? In this episode, Vanessa shared four tips that we can all apply in order to grow as a communicator.

 

Tip #1: Shift into a positive mindset

There’s a lot of negativity in the world and it’s no surprise that what we often feel inside affects the way we communicate. The energy inside paints the message that we speak. The clarity and impact of our message may very well rely on what we’re feeling inside.

That’s why for the first tip, Vanessa advises us to start within and shift our mindsets so that when we speak, it won’t be laced in negativity.

Along the lines of this, we should also opt more for positive communication and avoid negative communication. Examples of negative communication are gossiping, complaining, assuming the worst in people, and thinking that things are going to go wrong.

You must also switch your language. For example, if you want a child to stop running, the best way to instruct them is to tell them what to do instead then encourage and reinforce the behavior. Don’t just tell them what not to do, tell them what to do and tell them what they’re doing right.

In order to communicate in a positive way, we need to be focused on solutions and oriented towards action. In other words, focus on the problem and how to solve it rather than who to blame and how to punish the person who is to blame.

 

Tip #2: Be aware of your delivery

Did you know that 93% of your message is received based on body language and verbal tone? That’s right! What words you say aren’t as important as to how you say it.

Vanessa says that there are three components that go into the message you are showing, these are: body language, verbal tone and verbal content. Body language is 55% of the message while verbal tone is 38%. That means, there’s only 7% left for the verbal content. If you want your message to be clear to the other person, make sure that your tone, posture and body language also reflects the message.

Not many people are aware of these facts, that’s why when you’re on the receiving end of an unclear communication or if the body language and tone of the person you’re talking to doesn’t align with their words, try and clarify what they’re trying to say. The best way to clarify their message is to ask clarifying questions. Start it with something like this, “I just want to make sure that I understand this correctly, are you saying…”

Tip #3: Recognize different styles

People have a unique way of giving and receiving communication. You have to be aware of how you communicate and how you’d like to receive communication from others. In the same way, you also have to be aware of others’ communication styles.

There is a saying that every message has to be delivered in four different ways. A reference to DISC’s four personality types. There’s an effective way to reach out to somebody and it’s not always the way that you are accustomed to. Be aware of this fact and try and reiterate your message when you can sense that the person, you’re talking to is not receiving it properly.

Tip #4: Be clear and concise

Albert Einstein once said that “if you can’t explain something concisely, then you don’t understand it well enough”. If you’re delivering a message that only you can understand, then the point is lost. You have to master your own message and be able to explain it in the clearest and most concise way.

Some people resort to technical jargon and long-winding, vague explanations in order to seem smarter than everybody else. However, the true sign of intelligence is being able to speak your message in a way where it is understood. It is one of the smartest things one can do because it’s not always the easiest.

One simple trick that could help you make your message more understandable is to make the message about the person that you’re speaking with or communicating with. Focus on delivering the message and not on yourself.

Also, as I have said in the podcast, stop winging it when you have meetings with people. Spend some time to write down your thoughts. Focus on what you want them to learn or what action you’ like them to take by the time you’re done communicating to them.

“A lot of times, we have more information than the person has that we’re communicating to, so we need to ensure that they have all that information too so that they can be successful in whatever it is that we’re asking them to do if it’s a request that we’re making to them.” - Chabidaye Jaglal Ramnath

If you want to grow into being a effective communicator, you’ll need dedication and commitment. Not to merely follow steps, but to look within and at your life to see where you can improve.

As Vanessa said, “everyone messes up from time to time with communication, realize that about yourself and then take the steps necessary to change it.”


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