Thursday, July 8, 2010

How to Be a More Effective Communicator

Success as a supervisor, manager, or staff level employee is dependent on the ability to communicate effectively. Communication is about more that just works; it is about body language. facial expressions, posture, actions, reactions, and demeanor. Every twitch contributes to the concept one is communicating.


Step 1

The first step to effective communication is to determine whether written communication is required, optional, or unnecessary. Typically it is only required when one is communicating something highly complex, lengthy tasks or directions, or to someone what has a history of not understanding or following through with spoken communication. It is also critical when one is attempting to create a paper trail for disciplinary or promotional actions.

Step 2

Now clarify the ideas prior to the communication. This means that one should clearly and thoroughly understand the problem, idea, and messages that one wants to communicate. This requires significant analysis of the situation. It is often helpful to outline what one seeks to convey. If one is emotional it is helpful to organize the thoughts prior to communicating them to minimize the emotional context in the communication.

Step 3

Now ascertain the purpose of the communication. Think about what the goal that you want to accomplish with the message is. Do you want information, action, paradigm shifts, or just to present a message. Tailor your approach to serve this object and be cautious about trying to accomplish too much with each communication. The more objectives you present the more diluted your message becomes and the lower the chance that your message will get across to the reader.

Step 4

Next consider the setting and try to choose the best environment to present your idea. The timing is critical if the listener is having a bad day he or she may be negative opinion that could be difficult to change. Think about the setting and if it provides privacy, if needed. Consider the current and past practices and whether or not you conform to these. Consider the medium, is the message best communicated in person, by memo, or by mail.

Step 5

Now be conscious of unintentional and unintended communications. The tone of your voice, your expression, your mannerisms, and your receptiveness to others can greatly influence your audience. If your voice is condescending or harsh, you expression negative, your mannerisms negative, and you show no receptiveness to others then the audience may take a dislike to you and regardless of how much sense you point makes, the audience may automatically go against you.

Step 6

Next make sure that you include something of help or value to the recipient. This will make them more responsive to your point of view and most likely more receptive. Even if you are telling the employee something negative such as counseling them on taking too much time on a project make sure to note how much you appreciate the effort

Step 7

Next follow up on the communication. Ask for response and reactions. This is a critical part of communicating because it enables you to adjust and take corrective actions.

Step 8

Think about the long range goals. Typically people communicate immediate needs, however communicating long range needs is just as important. It helps show how vital the idea is and how it is consistent with long range interests and goals.

Step 9

Remember that actions speak louder than words so ensure that your actions support your message. If you talk about the importance of arriving to meetings on time, yet show up to meetings late it is unlikely that people will follow what you say.

Step 10

Last but not least try to be a good listener. Communication is a two way street. The purpose of communication is to both give and receive information and feedback. It only works if both parties are open to listening and ask for feedback to ensure that the message is correctly interpreted by both parties. In order to be an effective listener one should concentrate on the works expressed, implicit meaning of those words, and attitude of the speaker.

By Cinda Roth

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