What is one message you need to communicate verbally this week? Why did you need to communicate that message and what would happen if it wasn’t clearly understood?
Whether it was a message for a family member or a set of instructions for a colleague, there are often repercussions if messages aren’t clearly sent.
Some studies estimate that we spend as much as 30% of our day talking.
How mindful are you about ensuring your messages are understood?
Speak clearly, if you speak at all; carve every word before you let it fall. - Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.
Do you have a process for how to prepare your communications before you present them? Whether a one-on-one conversation or to a group of people, preparing what you are going to say before you say it is important.
Step 1: What Do You Need to Say and Why?
The first step is to understand what message you need to convey.
1a. Write down what you need to say.
**It doesn’t have to be perfectly worded or detailed out but this just gets it on paper (or on your screen). This reminds you to be mindful about your communication and starts you on the path to consciously prepare your message. **More on this is step 3 as well.
1b. Understand why you need to say it.
Often we are transferring information to someone or trying to persuade someone of something. You want to consider which is the case for you.
For instance, if you are providing your boss with information, describe what information they specifically need and how they will use that information (maybe to incorporate it into a larger report).
Or you may be trying to persuade a stakeholder to provide you with more time to complete your project and will need to provide them with the evidence about the new time frame.
By initially jotting down what you need to say and why you are saying it, you are beginning the process of communicating clearly.
Step 2: Who Is Your Audience?
The next step is to consider who you are speaking to and what you know about their communication preferences.
For instance, perhaps you are with someone who prefers to receive information in writing prior to any verbal discussion. Or, maybe the person you do volunteer work with only wants to talk over zoom with the video on versus over the phone.
How do you learn those preferences? We observe preferences as we work with people.
People give us hints everyday (but we have to listen to them!). We can also directly ask them. Even if it is someone you’ve worked with before, it’s never too late to ask how they prefer to receive communications.
That can mean understanding their preferences around: 1. the mode of communication (written, verbal or visual),
2. the method of communication (Zoom, phone, in person, text, email), and
3. the specifics of the communication (detailed information or summary outline).
Creating a message to meet the preferences of your audience will make it more likely that they will hear you.
Step 3: How Should You Present the Message?
Communication is your ticket to success, if you pay attention and learn to do it effectively. - Theo Gold
The final step is to determine how to best present your communication. Instead of just having the conversation, reflect on what you are going to say first.
Being mindful of your conversation and spending some time thinking about what you want to get out of the conversation will help set your intentions and even psychologically get your brain to concentrate on being present.
As you do this step, ask yourself questions such as:
What words should I use?
In what order should I present the information? How much detail is appropriate?
Do I need to provide any background information?
Am I using acronyms or words that might be unfamiliar to the listener?
Would someone with no knowledge of the subject understand what I am talking about?
If persuading someone, have you made your argument?
If providing information, have you provided the information they need?
Use these tips for a communication this week and see if it makes a difference for you!
* Actionable Success Steps
Use these Actionable Success Steps and our complimentary Success Worksheet (here) to do the following:
(1) Describe something you need to communicate to someone this week.
(2) Describe the purpose of the communication.
(3) Write down what you know about the communication preferences of the person receiving the message.
(4) Write out what you will say to communicate the message – the beginning, the middle and the closing.
The Growth Group Academy currently provides instruction to strengthen your success skills. Take our complimentary Strengthening Effective Communication class today (here)!