Effective Communications: Say What You Mean
The first rule of effective communication is pay attention. Put another way, be in the moment. Do not let your mind wander into the past or future, what you might have said or are planning on saying. Listen. Hear.
Communication involves both speaking and listening. If you are not an active listener and by an active listener, I mean the person talking with you senses that you are paying attention that you value what is being said and are not simply sitting quietly waiting your turn, the person speaking will sense that and lose interest in the conversation.
There are two fundamental rules for effective communications when it comes to presenting your point-of-view or doing a presentation.
1- Know what your message is or what do you want to communicate.
2- Know who your audience is or who are you talking with, I say with, as effective communication is a dialogue not a monologue.
Keep the message simple, for example, keep your use of adjectives and modifiers to a minimum. Leave words, such as really, great, super and so on out. This rule works both in business and personal relationships. Say what you mean, don't hint, allude or use a long metaphor to try to get your audience to understand your point, just come out and say what you need to say.
Think before you speak. Are the words about to come out of your mouth words you want to say or are they a reaction? Have you ever expressed anger at someone, who had nothing to do with the reason you are angry, that person just happens to be there in front of you, but your mind is back in an earlier exchange.
Stay focused and in the moment.
Stay focused and be in the moment or, in other words, pay attention. This applies to both speaking and listening. If your audience senses your attention is drifting theirs will drift along with it. This can happen, during a casual conversation when something you said or heard causes your thoughts to wander to another time and place, be aware and get back to the present. In a casual conversation, this is only a problem, if it happens regularly, in a business or professional setting, one trip down memory lane at an inappropriate moment can have serious consequences.
Be a good listener.
Listening is an active experience, make eye contact, nod your head now and then to indicate you are following the speaker. Hold your questions until it is time to ask them. Do not let your desire to ask a question interrupt your concentration, you will get your turn to speak. Wait.
The same goes when speaking, allow them for questions and treat them with respect, even if you think they are stupid, as some say there is no such thing as a stupid question.
Body language often speaks louder than words so when speaking pay attention to your audience, are they slouching, squirming, shaking their heads and rolling their eyes or do you have their rapt attention? Be aware of your own body language when speaking and listening, what signals are you sending?
If you want to communicate effectively, say what you mean and pay attention to your audience. Communication works both ways be both a clear speaker and an active listener.