Tips to Removing Barriers to Successful Communication
- Understand what you need to say - plan your message
- Know your audience - who are they and what do they need to know?
- Anticipate potential reactions to your message
- Choose words and body language in ways that allow the other person to really hear what you're saying
- Keep it simple and straightforward - providing too much information, too quickly can be overwhelming and confusing
- Be mindful of the demands on the other person's time - are they present and in the moment or are they preoccupied?
- Recognize potential cultural differences that may impact how the person receives the information
- Seek feedback on how well your message was received
Being a good listener is a critical part of communications. When you listen, do you "hear" what the other person is saying? Good listening supplemented by follow-up questions to ensure that you are hearing what the other person is saying plays a key part in building rapport and avoiding misunderstandings. The higher the stakes in a conversation, the more critical it is that you are certain you have understood the other person's point of view correctly and fully.
Tips to Effective Listening
- Be present - don't try to think of or prepare a response while the person is still talking
- Pay attention to their words and their body language in order to understand where the other person is coming from
- Allow the person to speak without interruption
- Repeat back what you think the other person has said - for example, "I heard you say..., is that correct?"
- Don't rush a response - a well-considered response is vital to ensuring the communication does not breakdown. Take your time and think through a response, and if you don't have the answers right away, ask for more time. It will show that you are thoughtful and you care about what the other person is saying.
Whether you are writing, speaking or receiving information, it takes effort to communicate effectively. In doing so, your ideas will be communicated clearly, conflicts will be resolved in a healthy manner, and you will understand much more of the information that is being conveyed to you. Being an effective communicator allows you can make the most of the opportunities life has to offer as you are more present and in the moment, able to build positive relationships and be more personally effective.