Often, it’s not so much what you say as how you say it. Let’s look at some ways that you can deliver a clear, effective message.
Use direct language and deliver a message that is clear, calm, and direct. Be confident in your message. This means that your tone of voice, vocabulary, and rate of speech convey your feelings. Be careful not to back down (at least not immediately) if you are discussing something that is important to you. Be considerate of other people’s ideas, but don’t quickly give up on yours, especially when you have it all well thought out.
Factual descriptions and relevant details are more likely to be heard. Look at this generalization: Joe never gets his work finished. Compare it to something specific: Joe has not met his goals for an entire month.
Use repetition respectfully and to keep things on track. Conversations can easily get off track, especially if they get emotional or if someone is trying to steer the conversation away from what you felt was important. Don’t be afraid to restate your purpose during an interaction.
Be as aware of your nonverbal messages as you are about your verbal messages. Also consider other people’s communication style: are they direct or indirect? Passive or assertive? Make sure to also take into account their filters, assumptions, and beliefs. This will help you to keep your message clear.
Check for understanding.
You do not have to wait for the end of a conversation to make sure you and your conversation partner understand each other. You can check for understanding throughout the conversation to make sure that things are on track by using some of the following questions or statements.
- What do you think about what I just said?
- Let’s summarize what we have covered so far.
- Please tell me what you’re thinking.
- Does that make sense?
- If you were going to share this with the team, what would you say?
- What is not making sense here?