It’s day 27 of our on-going 52-day course dubbed #Mission52, and today’s post will help you get clearer on your goals – communicating better.
Although we’ve been speaking since we were little, we tend to mess it up pretty regularly.
That’s actually to be expected because accurate communication is not determined by the sender but by the receiver. No matter how well you say something, if the person at the other end doesn’t hear it the way you meant it, the communication was poor.
Four things to remember to help minimize conflict:
1) Know Your Intention
Before you communicate, ask yourself; “If all went perfectly, what would I want to happen from the result of this communication?”
For example, are you trying to impart information, get someone to change his or her behavior, express how you feel, make someone feel good (or bad)…?
If you understand your intention first, it helps you craft your message better.
2) Choose Your Medium
Determine how you are are going to communicate what you want.
Channels of communication range from a facial expression to a tweet to a Facebook post to a phone call to a face-to-face meeting (and so many more). A general rule of thumb is “the more important, sensitive, or personal the message; the more important it is to try and meet in person.” For example, a disagreement handled via text messages will have a totally different result than one done face-to-face.
Remember: the more nervous you are about the communication you intend to deliver, the more likely it has to be done personally. It’s scary at times but, going back to intentions, if you want it done right, do it right.
3) Use questions whenever possible
Ask, don’t tell.
Ask what the other person thinks. Get confirmation about what he or she heard you say. Always, listen first, talk later. You might hear that the other person is already on the same page and you would have wasted a perfectly good argument!
4) Use “I” statements
Never start a conversation – especially a difficult one – with the word “you.”
Similarly, never use “straw men” to make your point (such as “People think…” or “Everyone’s talking…” For the best results, whenever possible, start with “I.” For example, “I feel…” or “I want…” or “I noticed…”
If you own it, you’ll be more careful about what you say and also, no one else can deny it.
Note: Just because we’ve been communicating since we were born doesn’t mean we do it right. Using these four steps will help cut down so many disagreements.