1 Habit for Improving All Communication Skills

1 Habit for Improving All Communication Skills

The difference between good communication and bad communication depends on where you think from. If you think from the wrong place then your communication can confuse, offend and even alienate other people. Think from the right place however and your communication is clear, concise and considerate.

So where is this place that you should think from?

Consider for a moment the design of your bathroom sink, and where the designer of your bathroom sink was thinking from.

There are two types of bathroom sink. The first one, you put the plug in, wash your hands, then reach out the back of the tap to push a button and the plug comes out. But the second one, you put the plug in, wash your hands, then reach around the back of the tap for the button but find there isn’t one. Instead you have to dip your hands back into the dirty water to push the plug out.

The designer of the second sink was thinking from a functional perspective. Plug goes in, plug comes out, job done. But the designer of the first sink was thinking from the perspective of the user. How would someone use this? How would they feel when using this? What would make it easier for them to use this?

To communicate successfully we need to think like the designer of the first sink. We need to think from the perspective of the receiver. We always need to think about these sorts of questions whenever we communicate:

  • When is a good time for them to listen to my message?
  • Why would they listen to my message?
  • What do they know already? What don’t they know?
  • What would make my message easier for them to understand
  • What would make my message easier to remember?

When you only think “What do I want to say?” you set your communication up for failure. It doesn’t matter what you say, what matters is what people understand, and those are two completely different things.

So the next time you go to communicate with anyone, pause for a few seconds before you do, and ask yourself at least one of these questions:

  • When is a good time for them to listen to my message?
  • Why would they listen to my message?
  • What do they know already? What don’t they know?
  • What would make my message easier for them to understand
  • What would make my message easier to remember?

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