7 Keys to Effective Communication

The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives.

Tony Robbins

We know good communication is important.

But how, exactly, do we go about doing that?

Let me be clear, you are not going to instantly become an effective communicator by reading a short essay. It takes time, effort, and commitment.

If you don’t think it is important, it will never happen.

In that context, here are some things you can do to become an effective communicator.

Take responsibility for the process.

This seems obvious, but it is easy to blame others for your poor attempts at communication.

If you are sending an email, you are responsible for getting the attention of the recipient and making sure that they understand your message.

Use the proper medium.

Texts are good for short conversations, but not for longer exchanges or emotionally charged situations.

Some conversations need at least a phone call, but there is no real substitute for a face-to-face meeting.

Know your audience.

Is it a child or adult? How interested will they be in your message? How much information do they already have?

Should your message be informal or more formal?

The better you understand your audience, the more effective you will be.

Be clear.

With your understanding of your audience, make sure that your message is clearly stated.

Don’t leave any ambiguity.

Don’t use any jargon or other words they might not understand.

Don’t try to make the message sound important.

If possible, have another person read the email or letter, and clarify any confusing language.

Follow the Goldilocks principle.

Give just the right amount of detail.

Too little detail is confusing. Too much detail is confusing.

Make sure the information you give is well organized.

Give your audience the proper context and a way to organize the facts you are ready to give them.

Emphasize the positive.

In some roles, such as manager, coach, or parent, it is easy to slip into the habit of always being negative.

Praise is much more effective in shaping behavior than criticism.

There is an additional consideration here: The subconscious does not process negative instructions effectively.

If you tell someone what not to do, the subconscious will often fail to process the “not” and understand the opposite of what you intended.

Ask for a receipt.

One of the biggest mistakes is to assume that your message was received just because you sent it.

It is always good to confirm that your message was accurately received.

— Rod Pickett

Now available at Amazon: The Courageous Heart: Wisdom for Difficult Times in paperback and eBook.

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Rod Pickett

Rod Pickett is a writer, pastor, teacher, photographer, real estate broker, certified personal trainer, consultant, woodworker, and life-long learner.