Ever feel like you’re talking to a wall?
Communication…effective communication…is a challenge that we face on an everyday basis. Let’s face it, people are different. We have unique personalities which influence the way we give and receive information. My daughter Ayla is a perfect example of what I’m talking about.
She has quite the independent streak and we often struggle to reel her in. Her “all-knowing” four year old mind seems to go into overdrive at times and it’s hard to get her to follow directions. Earlier this year she came home from school with a project. Looking at it, I had a hard time trying to figure out what it was exactly, but then I saw the point of the exercise. The teacher had them make an octopus from a piece of construction paper by cutting eight strips and labeling them with numbers. They were to put the same number of stickers on the respective leg, write their name, and draw the face.
As you can see, Ayla’s stickers were all over the place and there was very little “cutting of legs” that happened for her poor paper octopus. After looking at the failed project we were confused; we knew Ayla could follow directions. So, her Grandma decided to try it again. She mimicked the exercise at home and you can see there is a clear difference in what Ayla created.
This is not to say that her teacher communicated the lesson incorrectly; but Ayla just didn’t receive the information as her teacher intended. I can relate to the poor lady! Not just with my family, but at work, with my friends, my husband, and even when I deliver a message to a large group of people. Sometimes what you intend to say is just not what’s relayed.
So how on Earth do you communicate effectively? I think that’s the million dollar question!
Here are Four Key Tips to Effective Communication:
- Know Who You’re Communicating With:
Understand how that person gives and receives information, and adjust the way you communicate accordingly. The important part of what I just said is you adjust, not them. People are who they are, and they will process a message in their own way, being aware of that is vital. If you give someone who can’t stand details a long drawn out dissertation, you’ve lost them. Or if you’re direct and to the point with a sensitive person, you can easily offend them and shut them down from listening to any more of what you had to say.
- Understand Your Message:
Have you ever been on the other end of a conversation with someone who clearly didn’t know what they were talking about? Or better yet, have you ever been that person yourself and watched the look of confusion and disinterest on the person’s face you were talking to? Miserable for both parties right? Make sure you have a clear understanding of what it is you are trying to say and why it’s important to the person you are speaking to.
- Know The Impact of Your Message:
If you understand how you want your message to impact someone, i.e. move them to change, inspire trust, motivate or teach them, you can deliver it in a way that will foster that goal.
- Be Aware of How Your Message is Being Interpreted:
Watch the person’s body language you are talking to. If they appear confused, tense, bored, withdrawn, guess what? They are! Not only do you need to be aware of this, but act on it! Take a moment, regroup, and change your delivery.
These are four key pieces to the very large and intimidating puzzle of communication. When all else fails, just remember…what do you want that octopus to look like?
What’s your biggest challenge with communication? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
You can leave a comment by clicking here.