Posts Tagged ‘communication’

The “Science” and “Art” of Communication Part 3

Now that you have some “Do’s” and “Don’ts” let’s work on making sure when you are trying to communicate a message that you are not misunderstood.
 
The #1 Key is FEEDBACK! Think of feedback as evidence that your audience has heard and understood you. Keep in mind though, someone can hear and repeat your message but still not understand it. Sometimes it may become necessary to explain to your audience as if they were second graders. Reduce it to the irreducible minimums.
 
There are three modes of communication that are all about focus and important to be aware of as well.
 
1. Self Centered
Being pre-occupied with yourself… Did the audience like me? How did I sound? Did I look nervous? How was I coming across? This is being self-centered in your communication focus. The problem with this is that you are ignoring both the message and the audience. The focus then is on you.
 
2. Message Centered
Other times we are confident about ourselves and instead find ourselves over focusing on the message… How is the message being received? Am I getting it just right? Am I using the most appropriate words? Even though it may be better to focus a little more on the message than yourself, you still miss the goal doing this.
 
3. Listener Centered
The goal is to be focused on the audience, secure in your own abilities and confident in your message so that you can engage your audience and be focused on them.
Think of it this way…A good conversation is never like a speech, but a good speech is always like a good conversation.
Do you find yourself being able to connect with people who speak “to you”? More often than not the best speakers are not self centered or message centered but instead more focused on connecting with their audience. It typically has more of a “conversational” feel, we can relate and we feel like they are talking with us, not to us.
 
Think about the people you like to spend most of your time with? Why do you think that is? Sure you might like them because they are an old friend or a lot of fun to hang out with but if you were to dig deep enough would you agree it is because you like to hear what they have to say? They encourage, inspire, challenge amuse and entertain you.
Now think about those who you dread meeting with or spending time with because you know it is going to be like watching paint dry or chewing glass, just down right painful. It may not be that you have anything personal against them, you just don’t want anymore of what they “have to sell”.
 
Be that person that others can’t wait to hear more from. Tell a better story, paint a better picture and pay better attention. Remember when you communicate, people want to be entertained and engaged. Learn from others, study the things they are doing right and wrong. Do not do this to be critical of them but to be constructive for yourself so that you will never stop learning what works and what doesn’t work.
 
 

5 Keys To Success

Treating people with respect wins trust and develops lasting relationships. Here are 5 keys to success.
 
1) Be on time In fact, arrive early for appointments and meetings. Plan time milestones in your daily schedule that tell you when to begin transferring to an appointment. That is, note when you will stop working on a task, begin collecting resource materials, and start traveling. Allow time for delays in travel, especially if driving. Consider: The fastest way to destroy people’s trust in you is to waste their time through lack of planning or communication.
 
2) Communicate with others Answer your phone and return phone calls. Listen carefully and completely when people talk to you. Show an interest in others before telling about yourself. When making phone calls, devote all of your attention to what the other person is saying (instead of time sharing with other tasks, such as checking e-mail or playing computer games). Call others only when you can devote full attention to what the other person is saying. Consider: ignoring people is rude and unprofessional.
 
3) Plan projects For example, always prepare an agenda for meetings. Contact key participants before the meeting to hear their views, solicit suggestions for agenda items, and coach them on how to prepare for the meeting. Send agendas far enough before the meeting so that people have time to prepare. Consider: Bad meetings demonstrate an inability to provide leadership.
 
4) Be courteous Find the good in everyone. Compliment others. Avoid starting or listening to gossip. Never ridicule, insult, or make fun of other people. Use positive words, always speaking about what you want and how you want things to be. Avoid suggesting motives or assigning judgments for other people’s actions and views. Consider: Discourtesy damages all relationships.
 
5) Help others Be a mentor for newcomers. Share ideas. Teach people skills that will help them excel. Work with a spirit of abundance. Seek win/win results. Let others speak first, even on issues where you are an expert. Give first without attaching a receipt for return favors. Consider: Selfish people end up working harder.
 
 

The “Science” and “Art” of Communication Part 2

Common mistakes people make in Communicating
 
1. Not being specific enough
 
It is important to understand that often the biggest mistake you may be making is that you are not clear on what you are trying to achieve. Be very clear about what you are trying to accomplish. Ask yourself this question, “What is it I want my audience to think, feel and /or do?”
 
Keep in mind thinking is intellectual which changes the way they “perceive” things. Feeling is “emotional” and doing is about “taking action”. The best communication should touch on all three: Change how people think, create positive emotion, which in turn leads to positive action. If you find yourself failing in communicating it may not be from a lack of skill set, it may be as simple as you are just being unspecific. You leave it up to your audience to figure out what they want or need when in fact it is up to you, the communicator, to illicit the right response. If your audience does not “get it” you need to take responsibility and not place blame.
 
2. Not investing the effort and doing the hard work
 
We now live in the age of simple, easy and instantaneous. Convenience is nice but too often we forget that those who are really good at what they do are those who invest the effort to learn and develop necessary skills.
 
3. Not having something significant or important to say
 
Hubert Humphries said, “The right to be heard does not always automatically include the right to be taken seriously.” It is easy to write a blog or post something out on the internet but if what your putting out there has no significance or importance it will easily get lost in the noise, clutter and confusion. Your message needs to cut through those things and will affect people and make them care. If people don’t care, they don’t listen regardless of the clarity of the message.
 
Things that you can do RIGHT in Communicating
 
Think of the “C’s” of communicating. Commit these to memory and help yourself be a much more effective communicator.
 
1. CLEAR – Be pinpoint accurate on what you are trying to accomplish.
 
2. CONFIDENT – Believe that your message is important; that you are a good messenger and that your audience is important enough to invest time into communicating with them.
 
3. CONSISTENCE – Consistency is critical because of the amount of uncertainty typically communicated. Therefore sometimes the best tool you have for retention is to repeat your message so many times that the listener could repeat it in their sleep. Samuel Johnson said, “People need to be reminded more than they need to be instructed.”
 
4. CATCHY – Remember to avoid or penetrate the noise, clutter and confusion. This is the difference between saying, for example, “It’s a really good car” or saying “It’s the ultimate driving machine”, a great example of this “C” from BMW. Even if you don’t own one you know it is “The Ultimate Driving Machine”.
 
5. COMPELLING – Arguably the most important one of all. Remember, you must create positive “emotion” to lead to positive “action”
 
Keep these in mind in order to master the “Science” and “Art” of Communication
 
 

The “Science” and “Art” of Communication Part 1

The “Science” and “Art” of Communication
 
Think of a bottle of wine. Sometimes you can have good wine in a bad bottle. You look at the bottle and it is not that impressive but it tastes wonderful. Sometimes you have a bottle that looks terrific but the wine inside is not so good. The goal in effective communication should be to have both substance and style.
 
Science is built on practices, rules and procedures while art is more of an inherent creative process. The best communicators will learn to combine the two. They will take the best of each and create an effective outcome. Science without art can make communication seem sterile while art without science can make communication very chaotic. Your goal should be to combine creativity with discipline to create the most favorable outcome.
 
Let’s look at some examples…
 
The perfect “right down the middle” would be the late Steve Jobs. People would hang on his every word. That was because he would always couple the good science of technology and products and talk about them in an informative, factual way with his own passion and enthusiasm about the design and end user effectiveness.
 
A good example of the Science right but the art wrong would be the prototypical college professor that goes on and on, for example the character that Ben Stein played in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. A great example of someone who disseminates the information and then strives for involvement, “Anyone, anyone, anyone?” This individual has the information down but has diminished the impact because of poor delivery and lack of creativity.
 
A good example of getting the Art right but the science wrong, are those who tend to be very passionate. You find yourself connecting with their enthusiasm but in the find yourself asking, “What was that all about?” You knew they felt strongly about something, you are just not sure what about.
 
So what is “Winning Communication”?
 
George Bernard Shaw said, “The problem with communication is the illusion it has been accomplished.” The potential for bad communication is of great. Especially in the fast paced word of the Internet, mobile devices and busy lives we lead. I remember some years ago my son, as we walked into a restaurant, read a sign on a chalkboard the read “Fish – All You Can Eat”. He looked at me and said, “Oh No! All you can eat is fish???” This is a perfect example of how, even just subtlety, misinterpreting communication one can come to the wrong conclusion.
 
Therefore, “Winning Communication” can be defined as being heard and understood. For “Winning Communication” to take place your message needs to not only be heard (or read) but the intended effect of that communication also needs to be achieved.
 
Keep in mind communication is in fact “response you get”. How effective you are communicating is more about what is “heard” than what is “said”. Often times we find ourselves saying, “But this is what I said” but if the person who responded didn’t “get it” then the responsibility of poor communication falls onto the person who said it.
 
Stay tuned for Part Two when I will share some of the wrong ways to avoid when communicating and the “C”s of communication.