Skillful communication is the essential human connection. Sound communication techniques enable leaders to meet this most basic human yearning of people. Using constructive communication and persuasion skills saves time and effort, encourages cooperation,
and reduces stress and friction. These skills are invaluable in handling and preventing crisis situations, fostering self-esteem, generating mutual respect, increasing productivity, and enriching relationships.
Planning the Total Message
1. Effective planning considers the total message: content, method for delivery, and accommodation of the message to the unique personality of the receiver. Be sure your thoughts are clearly presented, your reasoning is logical, and the message
2. Check for unsupported assumptions or skipped steps in the reasoning process.
Adapt each message to the personality of the receiver. Knowledge of team members and your past experiences with them provide clues to the best structure for each particular message.
3. Consider personal feelings, attitudes, and what may be occupying their attention when you attempt to communicate. All these factors affect how the individual is likely to respond; they strongly influence the manner in which you present your
Choose the words, rate of speaking, body movements, and the type of questions you ask to fit into the style of the person with whom you are communicating.
4. Be willing to adapt your own communication style to the style of your listener. By doing so, you demonstrate basic concern for the needs of others and your desire to accomplish the goal at hand.
5. Environmental factors affect how the message is transmitted or received. Plan communication to minimize potential obstacles. For example, conduct complex, important communication away from noisy areas or excessive heat or cold.
6. Choose expressions that carry no emotional overtones that might cause ambiguous interpretations.
7. Be sure that the method you choose is the best one for the message you wish to send. Some communication is effective when verbal, either face-to-face or by telephone, while communicating in writing is better for other types of messages.
Listening for the Total Message
1. When you ask a question, listen creatively to the answer.
2. Become an expert in listening not only to the words themselves, but to the manner of delivery as well as to what is not said.
3. Observe and evaluate body language, emotion, attitudes, and other external or internal factors.
4. An obstacle to effective listening is that you can think faster than someone can talk. Most people speak at approximately 125 words per minute, but you can easily think at the rate of 400 to 600 words per minute. Use the extra time to organize
and analyze what you hear and to consider cause-and-effect relationships.
5. Avoid selective listening – hearing only what pleases or fits your ideas.
6. Listen with an open mind; resist any tendency to overreact. Making snap judgments or losing control of emotions, especially before you hear the entire message, destroys mutual understanding and cooperation.
7. Maintain comfortable eye contact and pay close attention to let others know you care about what they say.
8. Your skill in asking questions and listening attentively creates a climate of open communication in which team members feel that they have something valuable to offer, that there is much to learn, and that everyone shares common goals.
9. As your verbal and listening skills improve, you improve your ability to get results through people.