Communication is the foundation of every personal or professional relationship. Yet, effective communication is a difficult task.
Even though we learn how to speak and listen early on, does not make us automatically great communicators.
In the business world, it is essential to convey messages clearly to ensure everyone is on the same page.
However, the biggest mistake people tend to make is assuming that their communication has been effective.
As a former HR & Communications Manager, I know very well how hard internal communication can be.
Having worked in external communication and marketing for over a decade, I can tell, this is even more difficult!
Often, managers think they have communicated what needs to be done only to find out their team members did not understand it correctly or weren’t paying attention.
Assuming your communication is effective is a mistake.
Improve the effectiveness of your communication by leveraging the following key points.
1. Effective communication require clear key messaging
“Make your point, will you,” I’m sure you have heard said many times.
When someone asks you or wishes you to make your point, your communication is unclear and ineffective.
Rambling on and on makes your audience stop paying attention and leave without no clue what you wanted them to know.
Yes. That’s the problem.
Your audience is doing you a major disservice when they just ignore you instead of asking you to make your point.
When you have something important to say, start with writing down what is the one thing they need to remember when they leave the room. That’s your key message.
Then, talk about that key message repeating the actual key line at least three times during your speech.
2. Individual perspectives alter how we perceive messages
Did you know that humans perceive things from our experiences, beliefs, culture, education, intellectual level, and context?
Even if we convey the same message to two different people, they may not understand it as we intended and may even translate it in two different ways!
That’s right; two people can interpret the same phrase differently.
When it comes to business communication, your employees, customers, team members, and colleagues can make assumptions that harm the outcome of their work.
What if you communicated your expectations unclearly and your team didn’t deliver what you expected?
To avoid these misunderstandings, make sure you clarify your expectations and ask questions to understand whether everyone is on the same page.
3. Take Responsibility for Your Message
As a communicator, you need to take responsibility for ensuring that the message you want to convey is received correctly.
Suppose communication fails due to the recipient’s misunderstanding. Did you make sure they understood what you said?
If you didn’t, you failed in what is your responsibility.
It helps anticipate the recipient’s perspective and communicate with them accordingly.
Follow up after meetings to ensure the recipient understood the communication.
Asking for feedback can be a powerful way for you to learn if your message was not received correctly and help you rephrase it if necessary.
4. Use Simple Language
This is my favourite!
Start paying attention to how business leaders and experts use complex words, terminology and phrases when communicating.
They think using complex language makes them look more intelligent. I used to think like this until I learned how to communicate effectively.
Using simple words helps reduce misunderstandings.
When you convey messages to colleagues, clients, or customers, make sure to use simple language with no jargon or complex vocabulary.
Avoid overcomplicating matters, making processes more difficult than needed, or creating excessive steps.
Your message makes it easier for the recipient to receive and understand it without any confusion.
5. Follow up Continuously
Following up is a powerful way to ensure the recipient is still on track.
A reminder email or follow-up meeting can help clarify questions if an issue arises.
Also, check-in can support the relationship-building between you and your colleagues, job seekers or customers.
6. Use Effective Communication Tools
Ensure to use effective communication tools that best suit the needs of the participants.
How you get your message across may not always be convenient for you, but if it’s convenient for your audience, you do it their way.
Sometimes, face-to-face communication, emails, or phone calls are more effective than group messaging apps such as Teams or Slack.
Depending on the audience’s location and situation, tools that offer screen sharing, video conferencing capabilities, and instant messaging could make your communication more effective than talking on the phone.
In conclusion, assuming your communication is automatically effective can be an expensive mistake causing you to fail to meet deadlines, miss the delivery, decrease the team’s productivity or cost you in lost business or new employees.
Great communication is vital in today’s business world, especially in marketing, communication, team management, leadership and HR departments.
The good news is that effective communication is possible by taking responsibility for what you say, using simple language, and following up regularly.
These methods ensure all parties are on the same page when executing tasks and can foster better relationships.
Remember, there’s no harm in over-communicating and clarifying things in advance.
It’s better to be safe than sorry and avoid misunderstandings in the long run.