“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw 

 

Communication is one topic that seems to be a struggle for EVERY organization. No team or company can escape communication challenges. Why is that?

First, everyone hears and receives information differently. Many times, the communicator believes he or she has shared a clear message only to find out later that the recipient(s) didn’t understand the message fully or at all.

Second, we live in a noisy world with information coming at us constantly from all directions. We tune out much of what is communicated to us.

Third, sometimes we simply don’t want to receive what is being shared. We can be stubborn and refuse to listen.

So, if communication is such a challenge, what can you do about it so you can be a highly effective leader?

Here are 4 Simple Steps to Improve Your Communication:

 

1 – Seek first to understand, then be understood. 

This “habit” from Stephen Covey’s best-selling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is critical to improving communication among your team and organization. Too often we don’t truly listen. Rather we prepare to rebut or share our thoughts. This hijacks good communication every time.

2 – Find common ground with whom you are communicating.

When you are communicating, make it about the other person. Think about how they best receive information. Put yourself in their shoes so you can imagine what it would be like to hear your message based on their personality. Determine the key ideas that are most vital to communicate. Then, customize your message to your recipient.

3 – Carefully consider how you will communicate.

In the digital age, electronic communication is the fastest and easiest method. However, we all know that we can’t pick up on visual cues in written text alone. A UCLA study by Albert Moravian found that only 7% of communication is made up of the words we actually use. The other 93% is our body language and tone of voice. Consider the best method to deliver your message, even if it is slower and more tedious than simply writing or texting.

4 – Repeat, repeat, repeat

It’s been said that until you are tired of saying it, no one has truly heard it. Because of all the noise that you are competing with, repetition is non-negotiable. Keep “beating the drum.” Don’t fear over-communicating. Rather, fear not being heard. Even if your team begins to mock you for repetition, keep it up. In fact, when they do this, you’ll know your message is finally being heard.

Communication is a tricky business. We are in the information age that is growing exponentially. We are competing against a continual barrage of information coming at us. If you want to be heard so that your message can make a difference, follow these tips and see how they can help you become a more effective leader.

Until next time…make today GREAT!

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