We often misinterpret what is said or done, mainly because we don’t know how to communicate properly and effectively. Most of the time, we make assumptions based on our own filters: our background, culture, beliefs, values, education, perspectives, experience without paying enough attention to who is the one delivering the message, his point of view, feelings or goals.
The problem is that we are not mind readers and the percentage of chances our assumptions are wrong is very high and puts at risks the quality of our relationships with the people surrounding us.
An essential part of communication is the listening part. And in fact, most of us do not listen properly, meaning attentively and actively. If you consider all the researches showing that we basically remember between 25 to 50% of what we hear! Added to the fact that about only 20% of our communication is verbal which means that about 80% of how and what we communicate is by non-verbal communication – attitudes, gestural, tone,…There is room from improvement!
Poor communication and misunderstanding are major causes of conflicts and billions lost by businesses around the world.
How to easily improve the quality of your communication towards the people around you?
– Prepare in advance your message or speech.
– Make sure you articulate well and use a clear and audible tone to be sure that all can hear and understand.
– Do not speak too quickly to enable your audience to hear and integrate what you are saying.
– Make regular pauses and insist with your tone on the important parts of your message.
Communicate with integrity and make also sure everything you do is consistent with what you say. People need to be convinced and trust you in order to support you.
– Choose clear and precise words. This is even more important when you will deliver your message to a multicultural assembly of people.
– Stick to the basics of an efficient message starting by the Who (have a “lift speech” ready to introduce yourself in 1 minute), then the what (what is the context), the where, the when, the why and the how.
– People will more committed and involved in following you if they feel you are considering them, if they see an interest in following you or your ideas.
– Make sure your message is relevant to the people you are addressing it to. Ask yourself: Why should they care? Will what I propose bring an added value to them? What are the reasons they could have not to agree with me?…
– A good technic to capture and hold the attention of your audience consists in introducing some anecdotes, stories, pictures to illustrate your point.
– A great thing is to invite some persons from the audience to reformulate the main points of your message. Allow them to ask for clarification, ask questions, to get more involved. Solicit ideas, feedbacks from your audience applying to their creativity.
“You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere” – Lee Lacocca
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