There’s no doubt about it, effective communication is a two-way street – it needs a sender (speaker) and a receiver (listener) and both of these people have responsibilities.
Effective communication means the receiver has understood the message conveyed by the sender – otherwise there is no point in communicating at all. Whether or not the desired outcome is achieved is a reflection of how effectively the information was passed on.
For all the statistics that go around about how much of what we communicate is non-verbal (body language and the like) there is still an awful lot of importance to be placed upon the words we choose when speaking to one another.
The thing to remember is that each person will, to some extent, have their own interpretation of the words they hear. Many other factors come in to play as well – just imagine how much you can completely alter the meaning of a sentence just by changing the following:
Now back to that old chestnut of body language. Consider the following and their potential impact on the listener:
- Facial expression
- Proximity to receiver
- Eye contact
As I said before, the person on the receiving end has a responsibility as well. It is important to be an active, rather than passive, listener. Show that you are interested in what is being said by using:
- Posture – keep it open and lean in slightly towards the other person
- Questions – encourage them to clarify their points
- Repeat back to them what you understand their message to be
Matching and mirroring things like posture, mannerisms and the type of language they use also helps because it gives the impression you are more in sync with the other person.
Catalyst deliver courses in soft skills such as effective communication which can help you and your business become a more harmonious and efficient environment. Our website can tell you more about our ILM accredited leadership and management courses as well as our FREE interactive workshops: