In part one of this two-part series on awesome communication, I discussed the first three traits of effective communication: clarity, concise and concrete. Stemming from a communications training on the 7 C’s of effective communication, based on a Mind Tools training, we continue with the other 4 ways to get that much better at getting what you need and what you want through effective communication.
The fourth component to being an awesome communicator is being CORRECT in what you say. Being correct grants you authority and stability, but being correct is about so much more than just that. It’s about understanding whether or not people have the same level of knowledge and experience as you do – which ties a bit into the first component, clarity. Ask yourself whether the technical terms you use fit your audience’s level of education and knowledge. If not, then there’s a good chance that you’re losing your audience’s attention by either being too high-brow or too low-brow.
Being correct also creates a framework for any communication piece. For those who struggle with communication, it’s helpful to think of it in terms of a school paper. When you were in school, you had to write papers that had a structure identifying a purpose, supporting statements and a conclusion. The same holds true for your professional life. Your communication should identify a purpose, then supporting statements, and then a call to action or necessary deliverables involved.
The fifth component is COHERENCE, which is really about being logical. Even the best communicators can fail here when we’re stressed and overworked with very little time. The most obvious evidence here is when our communication, either verbal or written, comes across like a stream of consciousness rather than something that’s correct and has a clear purpose.
The sixth component is COMPLETE. Ask yourself whether your audience has everything they need to be informed and (if applicable) take action. This sixth component is particularly important during meetings where it’s more difficult to track communication. As a rule of thumb, every meeting should be wrapped up with a verbal assessment that summarizes key points and identifies deliverables. The same should also be sent via email post meeting so it’s a clear written record that can be referred to at a later time. It’s also a COURTEOUS thing to do, which is the seventh component of awesome communication.
The moral of the story when it comes to effective communication is to see whether your message, be it one line or one paragraph, meets the key criteria of communication. Of course, this is tougher to do when you’re using a slogan. In a case like quick messages and tag lines, the most important elements are to be both concrete (useful) and coherent (pushing a call to action). Remember that any piece of communication is about generating movement. Whether you want someone to side with your argument or take action to pick up the phone or make a purchase, you need them to act. Showing both value and purpose is how you’re going to achieve that every single time.
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