Communicating in an effective way


With this article i would like to support you in your daily communication challenges.
You will read some interesting words about how your attitude affects your communication, about how important it is to listen actively as well as to thrive on feedback.
Some aspects might be known to you, some information might be new.

Step 1: Communication usually begins with ATTITUDE...
Your attitude affects everything about your communications effectiveness.
Set your COMMUNICATIONS COMPASS on these four ATTITUDES:

  1. Service
  2. We're all in the same boat
  3. We're reasonable people, seeking reasonable solutions to complex problems
  4. Empathy
Think of a work experience in which money and time were lost because of poor communication. The single most important variable in employee productivity and loyalty turns out to be not pay, benefits or workplace environment. Rather, according to the Gallup Organization, it's the quality of the relationship between employees and their direct supervisors. One major lever here is communication!

"Communication makes or breaks that relationship!"

Step2: ...and continues with ACTIVE LISTENING...

One of the most important communication skills for today's leaders is listening. Employees, customers, suppliers: People – want to be listened to. They want leaders to take the time to ask for, listen to and consider their views and ideas.

To be an active listener, you must start with an attitude of respect for another's views, no matter how different they are from yours. By actively listening, you establish a climate free of being critical, judgmental or moralizing.

Here are some Listening Tips:

  • Visibly show that you acknowledge what the other person is saying. Eye contact, leaning forward, nods of the head, and responses such as, "I see", signal interest.
  • Understand intent by clarifying with questions. Seek further information to help you truly understand the person's feelings and views. It's important to be able to separate fact from opinion and emotions.
  • Summarize the key message that you heard by saying "You seem to be saying…" or "If I understand you correctly, you believe that…".
  • Listen between the lines to the unspoken message. Be attentive to the feelings behind the words and note any non-verbal cues.
  • Stay focused with your eyes, ears and mind. Shut out distracting background noises or actions.
And here are some Listening Tips:

  • Don't generalize with statements like, "everybody feels that way." Overstatements direct the focus away from the other person.
  • Don't advance forward by jumping to conclusions or completing the other person's comments.
  • Don't blurt out your opinion with comments like, "That's really stupid" or "That's not true".
  • Switch off your personal bias which can selectively filter or impair your ability to really listen.
  • Don't explain or interpret the other person's behavior.
  • Don't overload with "why" questions. They can create defensiveness.
  • Don't immediately counter with your own experience or solution. "Been there-done that" readily shuts down the discussion.
Questions for self assessment

To check how well you're really listening please check how you would answer the following questions to yourself. Don't cheat!
Do you listen attentively even if you don't like the person?
Is your listening uninfluenced by the sender's gender?
Do you often look at the sender?
Do you get distracted by other noises (beepers, phones…)?
Do you stop or put away what you have been working on when listening?
Do you smile, nod your head, to indicate that you are listening?
Do you look for the meaning behind the words you hear?
Are you able to withhold the judgment until the sender is finished?
Do you ask the sender to clarify the meaning of certain words?
Do you enjoy listening to others talk?

Step 3. ...as well as with THRIVING ON FEEDBACK!
You can't get real feedback without really listening!
Managing the flow of information upward is particularly difficult if the boss does not like to hear about problems. Although many people would deny it, bosses often give off signals they want to hear only good news.

  • This is the way how you can stimulate feedback:
  • Circumscribe, recapitulate with own words: "So, it is important for you that…"
  • Summarize, shorten: "Summarizing your statement, you said that…"
  • Clear up, concentrate: "The core of your statement is…"
  • Relate, arrange into a scheme: "On the one hand you see the possibility…, on the other hand…"
  • Ask, establish understanding: "What do you mean by that?"
  • Carry on, food for thought: "What would happen if…"
  • Customize, make means aware: "Whereby do you know that the problem is solved?"
And this is the way how you can stifle feedback:

  • Command, rule and request: "You have to do it!"
  • Warn, admonish, threat: "I warn you, if you do so…"
  • Moralize, preach, conjure: "I bet you insistently to do this."
  • Coach, make suggestions, give solutions: "There is only one possible solution."
  • Hold lectures, quote reasons: "The facts speak a clear language."
  • Judge, criticize, contradict: "You can't see it this way."
  • Excessive praise, flatter: "You are an intelligent human being."
  • Insult, ridicule, embarrass: "You can't couch one clear thought."
  • Interpret, diagnose: "You have problems with your authority."
  • Research, interrogate: "Why have you done that?"
  • Distract, draw aside, tease: "You've got problems."
After reading this article about "Communicating in an effective way", i hope we were able to provide you with some support for your daily communication challenges.