How to Become an Effective Communicator
Absolutely anyone can become an effective communicator by continuously practicing self-awareness and awareness of others.
Before initiating any communication, especially an important or a sensitive one, take a pause and go over your motivations, intentions, and your delivery method.
What is the goal or purpose of my communication? Do I want a concrete answer? Do I want to discuss or collaborate? What am I expecting to get out of it?
Is my motivation aligned? Am I prepared to receive feedback? Am I communicating just to vent? Am I communicating to be difficult? Do I have a hidden agenda? Be honest with yourself.
Is my message clear to the recipient? Does the recipient have enough context and knowledge to understand what I expect from them? Do we have the same level of expertise on the topic? Do I need to clarify my message further?
Is my tone aligned with my goal and intention? The tone is very important. You don’t want to accidentally sound rude while just trying to be efficient. In written communications, use adjectives to highlight the tone of the message. Make sure your message sounds friendly and aligns with your intention.
This part is especially important when it comes to sensitive topics. Ask yourself: “Am I emotionally gathered, calm, and open to communicate right this moment?”. If you write an email while upset, angry, or frustrated, it will most probably reflect your state of mind and will not be the best version of the message you intend to deliver. Take some time to calm down and reflect on the message before reaching out and communicating to the recipient.
Did I choose the right forum for communication? Was this meeting necessary or could it have been an email? Did I send an email when I should have just scheduled a call? Your communication method needs to be aligned with your intention and purpose.
Awareness of others
Now let’s stop and think about how your communication can be perceived by others.
Does the person have the necessary information to understand the intention of this communication? What do they think you expect from them?
How might they perceive your intention? Is your motivation aligned? Are they open to receiving this communication? Why would they want to help or collaborate?
What are the necessary facts, details to make the information and the ask clear? Is the ask legitimate, explicit? Is what you are asking from them falls under their role?
From what you know of this person, how is your tone likely to be perceived? Would your tone match their personality and their preferred tone of communication?
Have you considered the timing from their perspective? Are you sending an important email on Friday night just when they are about to go enjoy their weekend? Are you scheduling a meeting knowing that it’s their busiest time of the week? Is your recipient emotionally ready to receive a difficult communication at that specific time?
Have you chosen a method that will meet their needs and preferences?