Communicating Well with People
To communicate well really means to communicate so that other people understand what you are saying. You are able to communicate well when you can convey your thoughts and others can, in turn, understand them. Not an easy task. It does require substantial effort, but once you are willing to put in the effort, it will pay large dividends.
In order to convey your thoughts and ideas to others, you must simply communicate clearly. Many of the suggestions given in this article may seem simplistic, but communicating well is nothing more than a simple conveying of one idea from your mind to the recipient's mind. It may seem simplistic, but is well worth a look because your thoughts and ideas and delivery of what you wish to impart to your audience will improve if you follow these simple suggestions.
Examine your efforts. For writing, one way that you can know if you have communicated well is to read something that you have written in the past - maybe material from several years ago if you have those documents. Do you understand what you had written? Do you clearly know what your take-home message(s) is/are?
If you don't have any of your past documents, you can just try it now. Write something and then read it a few weeks later (or if you can't wait that long, sooner). See if you understand what you have written. If even you yourself did not understand perfectly what you wrote, it means that the passage was not clear enough. In that case, you should rewrite it so that you understand it. On the other hand, if you understand exactly what you have written, congratulations! In either of these two cases, you can now proceed to the next step. Ask someone to read what you wrote. Have them explain exactly what you meant. If it is not what you had wanted to communicate, it either means that that person cannot communicate his thoughts well himself, or he misunderstood something that you wrote.
For giving speeches, the easiest thing to do is to stand in front of a mirror to give a talk. It may be necessary to up it one notch by using a camcorder to tape-record yourself and then watch it later. Alternatively, you could use a tape recorder and then play it back just to listen to your voice. One of the biggest problems of speakers is to speak too fast. Speak at a well-defined, moderate pace filled with pauses so that people can take in the information.
Organize the information well. Perhaps one of the most effective ways to have others digest your information is to organize it well. So frequently, however, people organize their reports, essays, or speeches, in such a horrendous way that it makes it extremely difficult for the audience to digest the content. It certainly is possible to digest it, but it requires a lot of effort on the part of the reader or listener. It is almost as if the writer or speaker is asking the audience's mind to organize their article or speech for them.
When you organize your report for them, it allows them to concentrate on the content so that they can take home the message more. Good organization means that you do not overwhelm the reader with unrelated facts, but instead group items into broad categories so that they can take in the information more easily. You effortlessly flow through one related topic after another. Use smooth transitions while in the process.
How do you organize your reports and speeches? You must have central themes. One central theme should be the general purpose of the article, which should run throughout the article. More minor themes should be present within each section of your report or speech.
Impart a point to each message. You should have a general point for people to take home. Make it very clear what that point is. For each subtopic, you should also have a point. Hint at it or discuss it at the beginning of the subtopic. Throughout your presentation, gradually make point after point. The flow of the presentation should make sense as you traverse your way through a progression of ideas - one after the other, the ideas should progress as if you were walking down some steps on a stairway. Repeat what a point is when you finish the subtopic. Therefore, even if the audience has drowsed somewhere within your report or speech, they will once again become engaged as you make the final point clear to them before proceeding with the next topic. In doing this, your work will also be much more organized.
Make people laugh, if possible. Humor is always an effective way to grab someone's attention. When people laugh, it makes them more receptive to what you say next. It also makes them happier and more relaxed, which further facilitates their intake of additional information. This is not to say that you should blatantly tell a joke, but the humor should merge seamlessly into your document.
Not everyone knows how to use humor, however, but you may want to study it from professionals. Be careful not to be offensive. If you do not feel comfortable using humor, though, you may want to refrain from applying it.
Be concise, clear, and specific. Communicating in generalities is one of the common plagues that infest most people's writing or speaking. Say your point loudly and clearly, but at the same time, not vaguely. Long sentences or phrases are also become quite confusing, so it is best to avoid them. State your thought concisely, clearly, and specifically. You will be able to impart your message much more readily that way.
For further general information on improving any skill, but information that is relevant to communication skills as well, please see the article entitled, Perfecting a Task. Also relevant is the article entitled, Learning and Mastering a Language.
In summary, to communicate effectively you should try to:
A. Examine your efforts.
B. Organize your information.
C. Impart a point to each message.
D. Make people laugh
E. Be concise, clear, and specific.
Life Skills > Communication Skills > Communicating Well with People