Communication is an amazing skill for building relationships in our life. However, individual differences between the sender and the receiver often results in a breakdown. Here’s four tips you can consider for your next communication.
1) Know How You Are Saying
Setting the first impression does not apply only to physical appearance, it is equally important for communications as well. Just as one needs to dress presentably, we need to dress our tone and the level of emotion in order for further communication to take place. Depending on the occasion, a low and basal voice might be more suitable for engaging your audience in long conversation as it exemplified professionalism and control. It is also easier on the ear as opposed to a high pitch and energetic voice. Calibrating the volume and expressions in your voice helps set the stage for the content. Due preparation and repetitive rehearsal of your presentation is a good idea too as it allows you to evaluate if what you said truly represent your intention and the message you want to bring across. On top of that, it will improve the flow and increase your confidence during delivery. Conviction in communication is a very powerful tool. If you can say something with sheer conviction, even if it lacks validity, you might find your listening believing in your words. (Disclaimer: we are definitely not encouraging lies ;P)
2) Know Your Own Biases
Knowing about how you perceive and henceforth assign a certain choice of word or construction of sentence structure is important as it may entail unintended subliminal information. Encoding your thoughts into verbal strings depends on your knowledge and memory, but this is only yours to hold. No one will have the exact combination of experience or the linguistic ability as you have and therefore might not interpret things the same way as you. Gaining the understanding of your listeners is your aim, so make it simple for them to relate to you. Acknowledge as well that thoughts can sometimes be fleeting and complex, so much so you might be lost even in your own thoughts. Think also of cultural influence on language, a good example will be slangs.
3) Know Your Audience
Communication is only functional when there is a receiver. Logically, if as the speaker, your experience can affect the message to be sent, the unique experience and ability of your audience can affect how they decode your message as well. It is always useful to know the ticks and crosses of your audience. For instance, speaking to a child does not necessitate flowery vocabulary. The key is to shape it such that it can capture your audience’s attention, however short it is. Having the audience tune out, or overwhelmed with your message or adding their own meaning to what you wished to express is the worst reaction you could expect.
4) Know the Reactions
Now, if you have successfully see through the first three points, the gratification will not come if you do not recognise the signs your audience is giving you. Being oblivious to your audience’s reaction and talking non-stop like a bullet train will not grant you a return ticket. So, make sure you create reasonable pauses or opportunities for your audience to breathe and for you to assess their level of interest in what you have said thus far. We want to open conversation, not close it. Remember communication is a two-way track, it is successful only if there’s feedback and it is looping between the speaker and the listener. Read more…