The TACK10 Top Series is back, and this week we are bringing it back to basics. Our focus this week, and our ‘Word of The Week’, is communication. From it’s Latin origin and possibly in it’s simplest form communication is sharing. We believe that by actively working on how we share our thoughts, feelings, and ideas, we build a stronger foundation for everything we do. As such here are our top three tips for more effective communication.
1 – Listen
Listening can be such a powerful tool. Yet so often we passively listen, hearing only the words someone is saying but not understanding where these words are coming from. With only seven percent of speech being vocabulary, listening is about so much more then hearing words. Active listening refers to taking note of the tone, intonation and body language being used. It is about the smaller details that really give context to what is being said. By taking the time to actively listen, fully understand, then reply to someone you will more often then not lead to a deeper more meaningful conversation, cut down on mis-understandings, and come away with better insights then you would have otherwise.
2 – Clarity
As simple as it sounds, being clear in the way you communicate it not as easy as you might think. Do you leave room for interpretation or have you articulated your thoughts in a way where there is no room to be mis-understood? Take the time necessary to express yourself clearly, get rid of filler words and words that have vague meaning, and fully explain your thought or opinion. Learning how to express yourself in a clear way will not only help you cut down on mis-communications but also help you become a more efficient communicator, cutting out the need to further or re explain things multiple times. Being Clear in your articulation is not about over explaining something, using as many adjectives as you can to fully describe your idea, rather it is about being able to distill your message down to one clear and simply thought, something that could be easily understood by anyone, regardless of their knowledge on the topic.
3 – Transparency
Finally, be transparent in your communication. Transparency is something that can be looked at as a weakness, however at TACK10 we would suggest that only the strongest communication comes from a place of transparency. When you can be fully transparent and open with someone not only will it help foster a stronger relationship, but it also allows you to get to the root of the matter. For example, if you are in a meeting and do not have an answer to a question a client asks, instead of giving a muddy answer that may end up over promising, simply saying “that is a great question, you know what I don’t have an answer for you right now, that is something I would like to bring back to the team, but I will certainly follow up with you on that” allows you to go back with value added information rather then simply guessing and running the risk of over promising. Allowing yourself to be transparent in your communication builds trust and helps those around you understand where you are coming from. A skill that, in our experience, has proven to build very effective communication.
The Final Bell
When you bring it all down to a single statement, effective communication starts with being genuinely engaged in the listening component and not making any assumptions that are not clearly obvious to the audience you are communicating to.