The meanings of your words are decided by those that hear them rather than you. Understanding this principle can make you a far more effective communicator. Often communication is misunderstood or misinterpreted, which can lead to a break down in relationships and a strained environment. Here are some steps to help you be understood the way you intended
Don’t repeat yourself
If you’re not sure that you have been understood correctly there is no point in just repeating yourself. This does not change the message and is therefore unlikely to change how it is interpreted. I have seen this done many times, especially when on holiday. I have no idea how they think that just repeating what they said slower and louder will have any chance of working, but it happens…trust me I have seen it on many occasions.
Management also just reissued instructions, policy or procedures when something goes wrong. Again this is expecting that by just repeating the same message I will get my desired outcome. Without some change in the manner in which the message is delivered or understanding of it changes, then reaction to it is unlikely to.
If at first you don’t succeed try a different approach. Have in mind several ways that you can express yourself and your message. If can often be difficult to put things into words, and be honest if you are struggling. It can seem like an awfully long way from our brains to our mouth. Thoughts can often get muddled and confused on the trip. Remember that in the moment it all makes sense, however will it in the future. An example of this is when you take notes during a meeting, and then you read them later (out of the moment) they are just incomprehensible. Try different ways to ensure your message can be understood and I required passed on, out o the moment and still make sense.
You need to understand your intentions and desired outcomes before you try and communicate them. If you are not sure what you want to say and why, then how can you expect others to be able to interpret it consistently the same. Take time to understand what you are trying to say, and what do you expect people to do with it. This can help you decide the correct way to deliver the message in a way that is more likely to gain the results you require.
Although non-verbal communication plays a huge part in our communication, you cannot underestimate the power of the words that you use. How can the words you use are interpreted, especially if you are communicating by text. The context in which the words are used can also have a massive influence on their perceived meaning. If others feel the words are threatening to them in any way shape or form, they will not engage in the communication process. Use words that the audience are more likely to connect with, don’t just use language to impress or show your command of a language.
More than words
If your words provide the content, then the non-verbal communication provides the content, and potential meaning. It is important to remember that the way we feel at the time can have a huge influence on how we interact with our environment and perceive things. Therefore the emotional state of you and others ca have an impact on the meaning of what is being communicated. If you are angry and read something, then you are more likely to detect a more aggressive tone in what is being written than if you are in a relaxed mood. This can also be true if you are involved in verbal communication.
Whenever possible check the understanding of your communication, and this is more than just asking if they understood. All that checks is that they understood their interpretation of your words, which may not be the same as your intention. Taking time to do this will pay dividends in ensuring that everyone is one the same page. This will help in achieving honest communication that will yield better results.
Hear, don’t just listen
This is perhaps one of the most important communication skills, and it is more than just listening to the others. Take the time to try and really understand them, as Covey said “you need to understand before you can be understood” this takes patience and effort, you can’t pretend to listen, you will be found out. Listen to the words used, watch the body language. Use non-verbal oilers to encourage them to speak. Show a keen interest in understanding their point of view, demonstrate that you value their input. Examine interesting use of words, look out for the indications about what the person is really saying and thinking. This is the building block, that can help with the other areas.
We were built with 4 things to listen with (2 ears and 2 eyes) and only one thing to talk with. So why do we often insist on using the one thing more than the 4?
Originally Posted on: Orion-consultancy.com By: Scott
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