Communication is an activity that we do 70% of our time, and yet nobody has taught us how to effectively communicate to produce results. Instead, we constantly suffer breakdowns, resistance, and frustrations. What does it take to be effective at communication? How do you communicate to reach objectives? How do you communicate efficiently, so that it doesn’t take too much of your time and achieves the results exactly as you want.
Why do you fail in communication?
You might not even realize that you have failed in communication, but let me outline the several ways that you don’t communicate effectively.
1. You hear, but don’t listen. You fail to concentrate on the quality and content of the message.
2. You don’t check if you are able to transmit your message successfully, although you want to be understood.
3. You focus too much on getting along with others that you fail to generate an outcome.
4. Your ability to listen and concentrate on the message of the speaker is tainted by whatever impression you have of that person. Hence, you pass judgment even before the speaker has spoken.
Fine-tune your message to succeed in communication
To be able to succeed in communication, there are some crucial questions that you have to ask yourself.
1. Do I take responsibility for what is being understood by the listener? What matters, after all, is not what you say, but how you are understood.
2. Do I pay respect to the other person’s opinions?
3. Do I hear and understand the other person? Communication requires mutuality. You can’t expect to be heard and understood if you can’t do the same yourself.
4. Is the communication successful? You can’t just walk away; you have to ensure that you were able to achieve your objective in every situation.
5. Is your communication style effective to the listener? To a certain extent, you have to adapt your communication style to the needs of the listener. You can’t insist on a style that simply doesn’t work.
6. Did you make your request clear? If you asked for a particular course of action, were you able to get that request across?
7. Did you listen? Listening is a gift due the speaker. Give it without reservation.
8. Do I add value to the conversation? You must contribute something valuable to the conversation, and be a mere fence-sitter.
9. Do you take effort to improve your communication style? At the end of the day, it’s all about being a better communicator. What do you do to be better at communicating—an activity you do 70% of your waking time?