How many times have you sat in a meeting thinking one (or more) of the following:
- What is this person talking about?
- This talk has gone on for too long;
- My questions are not being answered accurately;
- This content is irrelevant to me;
- My concerns are not acknowledged.
On the flip side, when we hear someone communicate effectively, we are drawn to listen, think, perhaps even be inspired to act. Seth Godin is an example of someone who is not only effective at communicating but someone exceptional at conveying his message. Without effective communication, it is incredibly challenging to navigate life, let alone a successful work-life and business. There are some critical elements of effective communication to consider. It is essential that executive leaders, salespeople, entrepreneurs and Realtors keep these elements in mind to lead and better ensure the necessary outcome.
Ultimately effective communication must be delivered, received and understood by all parties involved.
Listen & Be Thoughtful
The essential element of effective communication is listening. I’m sure you can recall in meetings throughout your career when someone asked a question that had been answered moments before. Being present and listening ensures that you understand what someone is attempting to say. There may be no such thing as a “dumb question”; however, it is challenging to appear wise or engaged if you don’t start by listening. As we all know, we have two ears and one mouth – this two to one ratio is a good reminder of how to navigate communication with another. The more we listen to others before speaking, the better we can understand the objective.
Lastly, being thoughtful can be interpreted in many ways, perhaps in the context of kindness – which is excellent. However, for effective communication, I want to specifically focus on gathering the necessary data points and listening and watching what is happening. Ensure that you have all of the required information to then reflect on what questions or statements should then come from the conversation or presentation—thereby ensuring that the communication remains on track.
Be Clear & Concise
Be clear and concise with your communication. Simply put, cut to the chase. Say only what is necessary for others to comprehend what you want them to understand. Speaking in an overly verbose manner can lose the attention of your audience. Always seek to be direct and to the point. Avoiding filler pause-words like “umm,” “like,” and “ahh.” Filler words detract from what you wish to say, too many of these words will result in losing the attention of whoever was listening to you.
Empathize & Acknowledge
Taking a moment in any conversation to acknowledge what someone is saying is exceptionally powerful. It can be as simple as: “What I hear you saying is (repeat back to them what they have said)” and followed by “I understand that this is important for you.” Everyone wants to be heard, understood and seen – the ability to provide these elements of communication will ensure you have the greatest chance of connecting and communicating effectively with another.
Effective communication goes a long way towards connecting and achieving the desired outcome of any initiative. Leadership roles in all fields of business best thrive with effective communicators.