Friday, March 7, 2008

6 Ways to Communicate Better - no matter what!

We all have more formats, media, opportunities for communication than ever. We also have more ways to mess up relationships than ever before. And we're managing more relationships that are not all as strong as you think. Your parents will love you no matter what; your boss will not, your significant other may not. In any case, principles for effective communication in our ueber-cluttered environment are the same.

1. The most important perspective on ALL communication: it's not about you. It's about the other person, your audience, be it teacher, boss, friend, parent, other. This post is for current and former communication/English students, whether students in the official sense, or those in the life-long learning mode. Put yourself in the person's flipflops. What is this other person, your audience, looking for, or afraid of? Fear is often a hidden element in our relationships, and therefore in our communication.

2. Focus on your core message. If you want you audience to remember only one thing, for example, that you need more money, that's your core message. Everything centers around a core message. Incidentally, if your core message is about money, and your audience is your boss, then the operating verb is "deserve", not "need". When dealing with parents and money, better not to insist on what you deserve. See tip #1.

3. Think of three reasons why your audience should accept your core message. Maybe you have only one reason, or five. People can generally listen, or take in up to 3 reasons. Keep these simple and to the point. Better communication helps you experience richer relationships, smoother transactions, and more satisfaction with yourself.

4. Make sure your core message is abundantly clear and simple. If you're writing it, try to delete as many unnecessary words as you can. In many cases fear of rejection (of our core message) makes us beat around the bush and obfuscate. Be bold. Be clear. Remember #1. Better communication gets you closer to the good life.

5. Consider what is the benefit for your audience/boss/parent/significant other for accepting your core message. WIIFT. What's in it for them? This is another way of putting into operation #1. This can help you develop #3. Better communication gets you closer to the good life.

6. If you want a specific action to take place, spell it out. Make no assumptions. If you do not have a specific response in mind, then what is your core message about? In your messages that go beyond, "pass the salt", "the meeting was moved up to Thursday", focus on your core message and what's in it for you key audience.

Think about it. Your core message helps your audience in what way. Connect the dots for them. Elucidate!