Is the way you communicate effective?

8 steps to Communicate Effectively


Today most of us can communicate but the question remains, “Is our Communication Effective?”

It is observed that poor communicators are also poor listeners hence making it difficult for them to realise that their communication may not be as effective as they think. SIS International Research (NY) reports that 70% of small to mid-size businesses are losing money due to ineffective listening and communication.

The difference between communication and effective communication is that effective communication has a goal. Effective speakers begin with their desired results in mind, using language and style to persuade an audience to take specific action. Effective business communication results in positive feedback, such as a sale or a referral.


Ways to become an effective communicator are:

  1. Listen, not just hear – One of the keys to good communication is the willingness to listen for meaning in what the other person says and not just for the words. Facial expressions and body language add meaning to our words thus they must in sync with our talks.


  1. Don\’t let your mind wander– While the person is talking, do not think about your answer or response. Listen until the person is finished, then decide what you are going to say, don’t prejudge your answers.


  1. Check for accuracy– When the person is finished talking, paraphrase back to the person what was said to you. If you heard right, then respond to that statement or question.


  1. Ask, don\’t tell – demonstrate equality – Do this by asking for advice or requesting a person to do the work you want to get done by them. This shows you respect the other person as a peer or equal. Telling often implies a superior/subordinate relationship, such as boss vs. employee.


  1. Keep an open mind– You may know a lot but not everything thus it is important not to criticize, pass judgment, or preach. It is extremely important to learn to make objective evaluations about ideas, people, and situations. You are making a value judgment when you attach your values, beliefs, or needs to an appraisal.



  1. Become genuinely interested in others– All of us have a need to feel important and be understood. One of the ways we feel important is if others are interested in us. So talk in terms of the other persons’ interests and try to understand another point of view. If we expect others to understand us, we must first understand them. It is also important to convey what we have understood we may do so by nodding our head and appropriate eye gestures.


  1. Keep a sense of humour– Laugh at the goofy things that happen. Laugh off little annoyances. Smile at every opportunity. Seeing the humour in a situation can often defuse it. A smile can spread radiance and will also put you across as a person who can be interesting.


As the economy continues to improve, and the competition gets tougher, you need every ounce of communication skill you can muster to land the career and business opportunities that will be coming your way. Standing still means falling behind. Are you listening and changing at the right pace to get an advantage over others?