The Difference Between Open-Ended Questions And Closed-Ended Questions Is That 7 Steps to Effective Communication That Gets Results

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7 Steps to Effective Communication That Gets Results

Communication is everything in business and in all our relationships. Honestly, how else to talk to people? To enjoy a harmonious business and personal discussion, the level of communication must be excellent. How can one communicate effectively? Simply put, say what you mean, say it clearly, and say it respectfully.

Step 1: Build Trust

Some people are naturally distrustful of other people, because they don’t know what the other is thinking. So, the sooner you come out and say what you want, the sooner you can start building trust. If you feel that someone is especially scared, then you can try and reassure them that you are not a threat. As you can guess, this doesn’t always work, so don’t waste time trying to change someone’s mind. Instead, keep being kind and ethical and hope that your professionalism and consistency will eventually win them over – if you want to win them over. There are some you don’t want as clients or even partners.

Step 2: Speak Clearly and Concisely

Speaking clearly can sometimes be a problem because not everyone really takes the time to improve diction or word usage. For best results, try practicing speaking in front of a mirror and recording yourself for playback. The last requirement is respect. Don’t disrespect someone you just met. First impressions never go away, so make an effort to present yourself as a confident and respectful business partner. If all you have to say is, Blah, don’t say, Blah, Blah.

Step 3: Identify Communication Problems

What are some of the common barriers to effective communication? To begin with, there is language, or word usage. One doesn’t always think that what sounds good to you will strike others the same way. People can easily misunderstand or even distort the original meaning of a statement. It is wise to avoid saying anything questionable that might confuse a listener, or inadvertently provoke a negative reaction. Sarcasm and humor can be difficult to understand. The humor should be very clear and without anything confusing, or else one can easily get offended by a nonsensical statement.

Step 4: Learn How to Use Tone and Body Language Together

When trying to improve your own communication, beware of a defensive posture or negative tone of voice. If someone keeps getting defensive, the conversation is likely to be forgotten. Make sure you use a friendly and welcoming posture, with open arms and a smile. If you notice yourself acting defensive or even using a defensive tone (perhaps provoked by the other person) then pick up on those telltale signs. Don’t let emotion override good judgment. In fact, misreading body language and tone of voice is one of the most common problems in communication breakdowns. Even if you say something pleasant, if you show physical signs to the contrary, your message and your sincerity will be suspect. Remember that both negative and positive body language can be found in any language and in any situation.

Step 5: Don’t Say Anything

Assumptions are another common problem, whether it’s fulfilling one’s own assumptions or simply assuming that others see things the exact same way you do. Never mind—the truth of the matter is that most people don’t see the things they do the way you do, nor do they have the same feelings as you. The less you think, the better. This falls under the category of making sure your communication is always clear.

Step 6: Identify Communication Issues due to Technology

With the advent of new technologies also come new technologies related to communication barriers. Sometimes messages can be misunderstood due to cell phone static. In addition, when communicating over the phone it is common for people to use selective hearing (listening to what they want to hear), which adds to the problem. Some technology-based communication problems can result from lost phone messages or unclear email messages. Finally, remember that this form of impersonal communication usually does not allow for non-verbal cues, although virtual conferencing is an ever-increasing trend.

Some communication problems may result from remaining biases and stereotyping groups of individuals based on their race, sex, nationality, age or religion. Remember that nothing is universally true of any kind of person; every man or woman should be given a chance to prove himself based on efficient work. But what cannot be denied is that with more diversity in the office comes the possibility of major cultural differences and personality clashes. Sensitivity training helps a lot in this regard.

Step 7: Learn How to Talk Business

If you are trying to get someone to open up then try using open questions rather than yes or no questions. When reviewing your own tactics analyze how you approach people. Do you bully them with endless questions or do you ask them in a positive way how you can make the necessary changes to get a project, for example, moving more efficiently?

The more effective you are in your communication the more successful you will be – personally and professionally. Communication can be extremely powerful in helping you or it can harm you. Apply any or all of the seven steps mentioned above and set goals around improving your communication.

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