Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Communication Corner: Navigating the Route to Effective Communication

Communication is a two way street. The strength of your communication, verbal or written, is determined by a variety of contributing factors. Speaking or writing with the longest and most sophisticated words will not ensure that a clear and concise message is received. Strong communicators have earned their esteem by consistently composing messages that produce a desired response. An effective communicator understands which words and statements will engage and inspire their audience. 

To navigate your communication from A to B, here are some helpful directions:
Message conceived
  1. Start out by analyzing the goal of your message. Don't begin your trip until you know where you're going. This will help calculate how much time and effort it will take. Every message has an intended result. The objective is to elicit some feeling or action from the audience. Identify what you hope to accomplish from your communication and make sure you head in that direction.
  2. Merge your message with the appropriate tools for reaching your audience. Some messages are more compelling when given in person, while others are better suited for a phone call, email, or even a video conference.
  3. Yield to other traffic surrounding your topic. Associates may have additional research or expertise to contribute which will strengthen the validity of your message.
  4. Stay on route. Many messages get lost along the way, simply because we become distracted and decide it is more important to go somewhere else. Keep your goal and destination in mind and if you make a wrong turn, get back on track. 
  5. Obey traffic signs. If you come up on a detour, don't panic. Sometimes in our constantly changing world things change suddenly and without notice. A detour is just a better alternative to your destination while it undergoes some construction.
  6. As you near your destination, make sure you aren't losing your listeners.The vocabulary you choose is the vehicle that transports your audience. A clear, well-worded message will ensure that everyone arrives at the intended destination easily and on time.
  7. Once you've arrived, be prepared to take questions. You have been the trusted navigator along the way and your passengers will be somewhat unfamiliar with this new territory. Questions show that your audience has been listening and that they want to know more. After you answer their questions, they will most likely take action. If you've followed your plan well, their actions should align with the original goal.
Message received 

If you're in search of a good book to add to your communication training circuit, we suggest Words That Work: It's Not What You Say, It's What People Hear, by Dr. Frank Luntz. This book will open your eyes to the powerful potential that lies within the words that we use. 

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