Communicating Effectively

Do you think you are a Good Communicator, or are bad at it?

Do you dread the time you have to convey your message to say, your boss or spouse or colleagues, et al?

Recall the last time you felt great communicating. Feeling good about it even now? If yes, Fantastic! Else, don’t worry. You are not alone.

Right, are you ready to learn more? WOW! Keep reading!

We all communicate with the world in different ways, just to get our message across.

However, do we realize how effectively that message has been received, interpreted and used?

In the Organizational context, good communication is the lifeblood. Yes it is! It either makes or breaks relationships and thereby affects individual’s, team’s or Organization’s growth. It is proven that good communicators make better managers and leaders.

Be it a boss, a colleague, partner, or anyone in the organization or outside, ‘Communicating Effectively’ is vital for all.

Let’s go.

1. Start with the basics

Communication takes many forms — writing, speaking, gesturing, listening — though it’s purpose is always to convey a message to recipients. One needs to do this very well.

It hinges on other’s understanding your meaning, and replying, in terms that moves the exchange forward. It’s always a 2-way process.

Well, there are barriers here too, and boy! Do they matter!

Since atleast 2 parties are involved here, who may have different and varying needs, wants and attitudes, barriers may get created. First, recognize they exist and then try overcoming them; don’t be judgmental here.

Follow the 3 simple rules of good communication, all associated with CLARITY — Clarity in your own mind, Delivering the message succinctly, and Ensuring it has been clearly and correctly understood.

While SPEAKING, note the body language, like facial expressions, gestures, body position, etc…, of your own and of others too, to get the right non-verbal feedback and take corrective action, either immediately or later. Body language has some power to either make or break a communication.

Heard of Performance Appraisals? Oh, those nerves again! It happens with many even in a simple communication, let alone doing it now.

If communicating to a bigger audience, well, one hope’s the heart does its job well. Learn to conquer these fears, and there are many ways to do so (deep breathing, meditation, auto-suggestions, reading a light book, exercising, music, etc…).

And yes, always maintain an optimal distance from others, depending on the context of communication. Being too close or too far has its own meaning.

2. Learn to Listen:

A very important aspect of a good communication is to listen well.

There’s a difference between ‘hearing’ and ‘listening’, just like there is between ‘looking’ and ‘seeing’. ‘Hearing’ is sound in your ears but your mind may be elsewhere. You are not attentive and you miss the message. ‘Listening’ is when you consciously and whole heartedly, without any prejudice, interpret what you hear, correctly and make that message effective, be it listening to your dear one, friends, your boss or, simply music.

Listening effectively is half the job done in a good communication.

What’s next after listening? It is Responding.

Don’t REACT after listening. RESPOND. Reacting is emotional and instinctive and may be dangerous. Responding involves thinking and feeling, and therefore you give more time to interpret the message and to convey your immediate message across. This is maturity. With time you gain wisdom, and that’s great for all.

Lastly, you need to ACT based on the message communicated.

Remember: Listen > Respond > Act

While asking questions, know which ones to ask — it will help you get the right answers. How you ask questions, is vital. What, why, when, how are powerful words. Use them well, and with the right tone too!

Oh, the greatness of SILENCE! Use it confidently as a tool to encourage hesitant speakers, as well as in giving time in letting the message sink in. It’s not a shame to be silent when it is needed.

Reading efficiently is important too. Improve your speed and efficiency of reading. It helps a lot. There are many ways to do this, like taking linear notes, using speed reading by skimming, Mind Maps, etc…. Concentration is the key here.

Whether it is Face-to-face, phone or written communication — chose the right communication method to achieve your aim.

3. Acquire more skills

Briefing your team, in a group or one-on-one, formally or informally, needs good communication.

Chairing meetings successfully, making effective presentations, communicating to sell, negotiating to win, writing proposals, are all critical areas of communication.

Just ensure your message gets through the way you intended it to be.

Take feedback on how your message was received, preferably from recipients of your message themselves. Evaluate perceptions, listen to your team, and get outside views too.

Here’s some interesting tip. Remember these Cs of Communication to help you anytime.

They are: Clear, Concise, Concrete, Correct, Coherent, Complete, Courteous, Credible and Creative.

Good communication has all these Cs (and of course, many other letters too!).

Before we end, have a look at some very interesting quotes from some great personalities.

  1. Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something — Plato
  2. The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place — George Bernard Shaw
  3. The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said — Peter Drucker
  4. Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind — Rudyard Kipling
  5. Eloquence is a painting of the thoughts — Blaise Pascal
  6. The pen is the tongue of the mind — Horace
  7. Brevity is the soul of wit — William Shakespeare
  8. First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak — Epictetus
  9. It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech — Mark Twain
  10. Interesting one this: An old lady was introducing Mr. Anand Mahindra (Chairman of the Mahindra Group, India) to an audience. She meant, “Mr. Mahindra needs no introduction”, but what she actually said was, “The less said about Mr. Mahindra, the better”. Mr. Mahindra himself mentioned this incident at the start of one of his later speeches.

Which of these 10 do you like? Do you have more to tell us?

Happy Communicating!



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