Improving Communication

improving communicationCommunication is an important tool to master when interacting with clients, teammates, vendors and even our families. When talking with someone, be quick to ask and slow to judge. Learn to gather the facts before coming to a conclusion and be curious about additional information that may yield a more complete picture. The quality of your questions will greatly impact the effectiveness of your communication. Learn to “peel the onion.” Ensure that you have asked all the necessary questions in order to have a more complete picture.

Those who are truly great communicators can effectively communicate through all mediums, to include, written, over the phone, and face to face. Maybe even more importantly, great communicators know when to use which medium. Think about how many people you talk with in one day between all the meetings, emails, conference calls, reports, and presentations. Think about all the information you are trying to communicate. How much of it is being understood and acted on accordingly? How much is slipping through the cracks? And how much is being misinterpreted entirely? Working to continue improving your communication skills, written and verbal, will help you be more effective in both your personal and professional life. 

When communicating important information to teammates, customers or family make sure you are following the 7 C’s:

  1. Clear– What is your purpose in communicating with this person? If you are not sure, then your audience won’t be sure either.
  1. Concise– Stick to the point and keep it brief.
  1. Concrete– Use a couple of details and vivid facts so your audience has a clear picture.
  1. Correct– Do the technical terms fit your audience’s level of education or knowledge.
  1. Coherent– Is it logical? Are all points connected and relevant to the main topic?
  1. Complete– Does your audience clearly know what you want them to do. Have you included relevant information?
  1. Courteous– Is your communication friendly, open, and honest?

After you have had an important conversation take the time to reflect on how it went. Were you clear on the front end in regards to the purpose of the meeting or phone call? Was your message concise or did you include unnecessary information? Were you able to paint a clear picture for your audience? Was the information you shared correct and fact based? Did you present your points in a logical and coherent fashion? Did you leave your audience with clear take-aways and next steps? And lastly, were you courteous in how you presented the information?

The 7 C’s will help you more effectively communicate what it is you have to share. The better we communicate, the more credibility we’ll have with our audience. All the knowledge in the world will only get you so far if you don’t have the communication skills to effectively share it with others. However, communicating what it is that you have to say is only half of the equation. Asking good questions will help confirm that you and the person you are communicating with both walk away on the same page. You don’t always have to come to an agreement but it is important to make sure that you each understand where the other person is before concluding the conversation. By becoming a better communicator, you can cut down on those miscues and miscommunications that, when left unaddressed, can lead to those unwanted fireworks.