Five Tips To Becoming a Clear Communicator

Aug 11, 2015

Five Tips To Becoming a Clear Communicator

Communication—it's something you do multiple times daily, in both your personal and professional life, in various forms. But is your point really getting across?

We've all heard it or said it before,

"It goes without saying …"
"Obviously, I don't need to go into details …"
"Oh, I didn't know that's what you meant!"

Most problems and conflicts are the result of miscommunication. This is especially true in the workplace. We assume our thoughts and behaviors are transparent, especially around people we know well, such as people with whom we work. When we assume that other people know what we're thinking and what we're expecting of them, we do them a disservice. Assuming that we've been clear about what we wanted, we blame them when things don't go as planned. Communication and accountability go hand in hand. When we miscommunicate, we need to hold ourselves responsible for the error.

Poor communication in the workplace often leads to less efficiency, lower employee morale, and decreased innovation. Did you know that managers who communicate effectively with their employees significantly increase employee engagement? This has a direct correlation to improved financial performance. So, how do we become better communicators?

Effective communication occurs when the person receiving the message comprehends the information or idea that the sender intends to convey. Communication is a two-way process of reaching mutual understanding in which participants not only exchange information but also create and share meaning.

Communication includes a group of behaviors—things you say and do. The effectiveness of the communication depends on three factors: content, context, and receiver.

Content includes the actual words or symbols that constitute a part of the message. It can be either spoken or written.

Context includes the parts of communication that surround a spoken or written word that can influence its meaning. The context for communication may sometimes seem to contradict the communication—for example, when factual information that the person knows about the subject challenges or contradicts what is being conveyed in the communication itself. In spoken communication, context might include body language, facial expressions, gestures, and the level or state of emotion. As we believe what we see more than what we hear, we sometimes trust the accuracy of nonverbal behavior more than verbal behavior. So when we communicate, the other person notices what we say, how we say it, and what he or she knows about the subject.

Another often-overlooked part of effective communication is the emotional state of the receiver. Before conveying your message to someone, consider the following five tips.

  1. How should you communicate with the receiver (e-mail, voice mail, dialogue, and interaction)? E-mail is a great way to deliver data, but it is a poor way to communicate personal information, and it is often ineffective as a tool to get support or to address conflicts. Personal contact and dialogue through a phone call or face-to-face interaction are more effective methods for communicating personal messages, such as performance improvement suggestions, conflict, or praise.
  2. What should you communicate to the receiver? What kind of message needs to be conveyed? Does this person need background information? Just because you are aware of something—perhaps you have extensive knowledge about a policy or procedure—do not assume that your coworker has the same knowledge.
  3. When should you communicate with the receiver? Do you need to set an appointment? Will a one-on-one meeting suffice or does a group need to be involved in the conversation? Also consider the particular time of day and week. No one wants to start a discussion at closing time on a Friday.
  4. How frequently should you communicate with the receiver (very frequently, only when there is a problem, same time each week)?
  5. What do you need to do to make the receiver more open to your message? Will it require significant preparation? Will short and sweet work? Does someone else need to be there, too? Are multiple conversations required?

These are just a few things to consider when communicating. Normally, we think communication is complete once we have conveyed the message, but chances are the message was not perceived properly. A message hasn't been communicated successfully unless the receiver understands it completely. The only way to know if the message has been properly received is by two-way communication or feedback. Next week, we will discuss the barriers to two-way communication.

If you need help with communication in your company, consider ZERORISK HR's Clear Direction Team & Communication Development Program. It provides a comparison of a manager's emotional intelligence competencies and motivators with each of his or her key direct reports, peers, and direct manager and guides him or her on how he or she can best work with each person.

ZERORISK helps organizations build great cultures by identifying, developing, and retaining top talent. The ZERORISK Hiring System blends a revolutionary behavioral science with state-of-the-art technology to reduce unwanted turnover and improve employee performance. For more information contact us at (800) 827-5991.

© 2004-2018 ZERORISK HR, Inc. All rights reserved.


Social Media