How to be an effective communicator

How to Be a More Effective Communicator

First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak.

-Epictetus

Over the next month, I’m going to delve into a very important topic for anyone in leadership – or for anyone ready to take things to the next level in life. Whether you’re a leader in the corporate world or of a small business, effective communication skills are vital.

In a Forbes article detailing the communication secrets of successful leaders, author Mike Myatt says all great leaders are also skillful communicators. And, suggests Myatt, it’s the subtle elements of communication that aren’t taught in the classroom that leaders must master.

If you’re ready for some tips to help you communicate better, read on.

Mind your thoughts.

How to be an effective communicator

What we are thinking leaks out into our message, so make sure your thoughts are in alignment with the message you’re trying to convey.

Be aware of what your intentions are from the very beginning. Do a quick mental analysis before delivering an important message to make sure what you’re thinking is congruent with what you’re about to say.

If your thoughts aren’t aligned with your words, find out why. Are you avoiding something? Trying to shy away from conflict? Not being fully authentic to yourself and others?

Keep it real.

If you don’t believe in what you’re saying, no one else will either. Effective communicators believe in the message they’re conveying to others.

Strong leaders speak with authority, and their behavior is consistent with their speech. Click To Tweet!

Forbes contributor Susan Tardanico says in an article that when actions fail to align with words, there’s trouble on the horizon. If not immediately corrected, that can turn into even bigger trouble. It’s better to stay silent or to hold off on communicating your message until you’re certain your behavior will support your message.

Emotion in Business

Leave out the complexities.

In our ever-connected, highly digital world, most people are practically oversaturated with information. Simplicity, says Tardanico, is both powerful and necessary.

Use as few words as necessary to clearly get your message across. Watch out for buzzwords, useless jargon, and business language that diminish the importance of your message.

If you’re talking about a task, break it down into measurable steps that make sense. If you need to motivate your team, choose your words carefully to show them why their role is important. Don’t make things more complicated than they need to be.

Keystrokes count.

Communication isn’t just about the spoken word. How we respond to written communication – emails, texts, notes – is just as important. If you tried to count how many times you’ve received unprofessional, confusing emails, I bet you’d give up within seconds!

To make your written communication effective:

  • Start with the subject. Your subject line should be clear, explanatory, and related to the content of your message.
  • Use a brief introduction, and consider personalizing the salutation. Rather than “Hi”, try “Hi, John”.
  • Cut to the chase right away so the reader sees the point of the message at the very beginning.
  • Keep it short and sweet – no one has the time to read emails that are miles long.
  • Check your grammar! Poorly written emails with incorrect spelling and missing punctuation make you seem unprofessional. Remember, perception is reality.
  • Leave out the criticisms, don’t write anything when you’re feeling emotional, and be aware of the tone of the message to avoid someone misconstruing what you’re trying to say.

The #1 tip: NEVER write something you wouldn’t want the rest of the world reading – and be sure that you’re sending the message to the intended recipient!

Looking for more tips? This selfimprovement.org post has nearly everything you would want to know about communications – bookmark this one to refer back to.

Stay tuned for next week’s post, where I’ll be sharing three very powerful communication tools that will help you build better relationships.

What’s your hot button issue when it comes to communication? Leave a comment below and let’s see how many people agree!