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Getting your message across

By communicating clearly I am going to reduce the number of unnecessary conversations/phone calls/emails/texts in my life

Did you make any new year's resolutions for 2015? Get fit? Lose weight? Learn a new language? Start a new hobby? Find a better job?   Sorry - those are all sooooo 2014. My resolution for this year was far more ambitious - this year I am going to communicate clearly.

Why? By communicating clearly I am going to reduce the number of unnecessary conversations/phone calls/emails/texts in my life. Which will eliminate misunderstandings. Which will reduce the amount of stress in my life.

Yes, communication is a two-way process and it's true that I can't speak or write for others. However, by improving my own communication skills I'll be ensuring that mistakes and misinterpretations, muddles and miscalculations are kept to a minimum.

My strategies to improve how I communicate are:

  • Think before I speak or write. (I know, I know… I sound like my mother!). Having a specific goal of what I want to communicate will help me make the message simple and unambiguous.
  • Make sure I use the best possible combination of words, tone, volume and pace to suit the message. This will involve thinking about the people I am communicating with, their language needs, whether they're paying attention and how well they can hear me. This will also apply to written communication; keeping my language relevant to audience is important.
  • Checking that my timing and location are going to give my message the best chance of being heard.
  • Mentally running my communication through an ‘ambiguity filter' to make sure there isn't more than one interpretation.
  • Using communication that is complete (has all the necessary information) but isn't a single word longer than it needs to be.
  • Using feedback as a ‘fact checker'. Put simply, this is repeating the information back to the person to confirm you understand it correctly and that you're both on the same page.
  • Good luck with your resolutions. It may be February now but they're still worth sticking with. If you'd like to join me on my mission, check out the range of communication courses available through OTEN.