Communicating more effectively
In seeking to become a better communicator, you naturally need to con-
sider both content and context. Some basic points to consider when
seeking to get the content right:
Preparation is really important and the longer, or more important the
interaction you are facing, the more you need to prepare.
Even for short everyday interactions, be clear in what you wish to say
and get your thoughts organised in your own head, before you open
your mouth.
Match the content of what you have to say with the requirements of
your audience, be that one person or many.
Consider what they need to know, what they know already, and how
best to devise the message to make it stick for them.
Be clear, concise and don’t waffle.
Be knowledgeable about your work and up to date with current
trends. Take proactive steps to build your knowledge base.
Avoid instances where you are put on the spot for immediate answers
to complex issues. Naturally, there will be plenty of occasions where a
quick answer is required and you will need to cope effectively with
that.
When you don’t have the answer, don’t bluff or think on the hoof. Be
honest and tell them you will get back to them. Then make sure you
do.
Avoid overuse of meaningless jargon and buzzwords, or you could end
up sounding like a walking cliché machine. Never feel that you need
to join the jargon club – clear and simple is best.
In seeking to get the context right, things become somewhat more compli-
cated, for a lot of what you are currently doing in relation to tone and body
language is subconscious. Improving your self-control will help you here,
as it will allow you to manage your emotions more effectively and there-
fore improve how you communicate.
COMMUNICATION
59
READ_C05.QXP 1/10/07 12:03 Page 59
The table below demonstrates how the three states of control influence our
outward behaviours when communicating.
READY TO LEAD?
60
Out of Control
Being too shy or
passive
In Control Out of Control
Being too angry
or aggressive
Tone of Voice
Quietly
spoken
Obviously
nervous
Overly
apologetic
Soft spoken
Dry mouth
Firm
Calm
Clear
Loud
Raised
Shouting
Words
Talking
around the
subject
Avoiding
getting to the
issue/waffling
Overly
apologetic in
choice of
words
Qualifying
everything
you say
Concise
No waffle
Clearly
expressing
your opinion
Using ‘I’ but
in a non-
selfish way
Abrupt
Threatening
Accusing
Using ‘you’ in
a blaming
fashion
Swearing
Eyes
Uncomfort-
able making
eye contact
Looking down
or away a lot
Maintaining
good eye
contact
Not seeking
to intimidate
Staring down
Eyes bulging
Trying to
intimidate
Hand Gestures
Nervous
gestures
Fidgeting
Hand
wringing
Open hand
gestures
Lots of
pointing
Clenched
hands
Thumping
table
Body Language
Inward
posture
Obviously
uncomfort-
able
Hunched,
self-
protecting
Upright
posture
Head up
Using active
listening
Forward
posture
In your face
Leaning
Threatening
READ_C05.QXP 1/10/07 12:03 Page 60

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