Bad communication can be fun, frustrating, or annoying. If you want to narrow it down, speak clearly and skip the assumptions. Ask the person to make sure they understand you. When communicating electronically, you should be clear, concise, and informative. Listening effectively can also help prevent miscommunication. By putting effort into conversations, you can reduce the risk of miscommunication.
Part 1 of 3: Employ Clear Communication
Step 1. Think before you speak
By thinking about your words, you can organize your thoughts and prepare to say something relevant. Make sure your words are organized so that you can say what you really want to say, especially if you are having an important conversation.
- Keep in mind that your attitude and tone can communicate a lot. Keep a narrow focus and stay on topic.
- If you have difficulty saying what you want to express, write down a list to ensure that you cover everything you want.
- Take an intentional pause before speaking. Often times, your instinct will be to rush into the conversation. However, if you consciously use pauses and take a moment to conceive your thoughts before speaking, this will increase the likelihood that you will have clear communication and that people will be ready to listen.
Step 2. Get their attention
Having someone's attention is about making sure they are listening and understanding the words you are saying. Make eye contact and ask questions to verify that they are listening. If she's distracted or doing something else, grab her attention or try another time. If she seems distracted by other things, ask for their attention by saying something like "I have to make sure you understand" or "I would appreciate it if you would give me your undivided attention."
- If she seems distracted, tell her that you will talk to her at another time, when she is freer.
- For example, if you have to talk to someone, but they are doing something, let them know that they need to talk and that you want their attention.
- Don't criticize or yell at people to get their attention. Go over to them and talk to them in person whenever possible.
Step 3. Consider your assumptions
You might assume that people understand what you say or what you ask them to do. However, you should clarify with the person everything about which they might have doubts. If you are going to give directions, clarify everything you might have to do as a preparation. You could overestimate or underestimate the level of knowledge or skill they have, so you better ask.
You should do this especially if you are going to talk to someone from a different culture than yours. You might assume he understands colloquial or other language, but it won't hurt to ask. If someone seems confused, try to explain better
Step 4. Be courteous
Courtesy in communication is about being open, honest, and friendly. You should not say something that may be passive aggressive, sarcastic, or teasing around the person you are talking to. Focus on being friendly and saying what you want to express in a way that can be easily understood. If you are going to interrupt other people, be rude and disrespectful, you will not communicate effectively.
Sarcasm can be easily misinterpreted. You could use it to joke, but if you say the opposite of what you wanted to express, this can lead to misunderstandings. People could be confused with what you really meant. Sarcasm could also turn cruel without you realizing it
Step 5. Verify that you understand
Ask the person questions to verify that they understand you. This can be as simple as asking "Do you understand?" or "Do you have any questions?" This will give you the opportunity to voice any concerns or problems you have.
- This can help people feel comfortable asking questions or asking for an explanation.
- If you are going to give directions, ask them to repeat them to you to verify that they understand you.
In some circumstances, it will be appropriate to summarize the information briefly.
For example: "I just want to make things clear: first we will take care of the Garcia account, then we will have a quick meeting to talk about how we will solve the communication problems, understand?"
Step 6. Talk to him again later
Talk back to the person you are communicating with to ensure that you have been clear. If you've sent him an email, send him another one and ask, “How are things going? Do you have any question?". If you've talked to someone, go back to them a day or two later to say, “I just wanted to know how you were. Everything is alright?".
If you think they might have miscommunicated, take this moment to clearly communicate anything that could be confusing
Part 2 of 3: Be a good listener
Step 1. Understand body language
A large part of communication is non-verbal. Pay attention, as this can be very important. Maintain eye contact and notice any changes in that of the person or yours. Observe the person's posture and facial expressions, and determine if there are any inconsistencies. If you notice differences, ask a question again or ask for an explanation.
Step 2. Listen carefully
Give your full attention when the person is speaking. Many people try to come up with what to say next, but you should keep your attention focused on whoever is speaking. People value being heard and understood, and one of the most effective ways to do this is by actively listening. Point your body towards her and lean in her direction. Don't resort to distractions (like cell phones) and stay focused on the person.
It will not be enough just to hear the words you say, you will have to listen to the information and the way it is communicated. For example, your voice may change when talking about something emotional or if you feel uncomfortable
Step 3. Don't interrupt
If someone is speaking, do your best not to interrupt. Let him finish expressing his thoughts before commenting on them or saying anything else. This shows that you are listening and that you care what he says. If you interrupt people frequently, they may become frustrated talking to you and unable to communicate everything they wanted to say.
If you allow the person to express their thoughts fully, this means that you are listening with full attention and are not concerned with your own words. This way, she'll feel more comfortable bringing everything up and won't forget something she wanted to say because the conversation got off track
Step 4. Ask questions
If there is something that is not clear or that you do not fully understand, you should ask questions about it. Say something like "Could you explain what you mean by ___?" or “I don't think I understand ___. Can you explain it to me?".
If the person is still talking and you don't want to interrupt, write down the questions so that you don't forget to ask them
Part 3 of 3: Communicate electronically
Step 1. Organize the information
If you are trying to communicate certain information, you will need to verify that it reaches the person effectively. For example, if you are planning an event, you will need to provide important information such as the place, time, and what attendees should bring. Explicitly state any directions or steps people need to take, and check that the information is clear.
Before sending the information or invitation, verify that you have all the necessary information
Step 2. Use few words
You should be direct when communicating with text messages or emails. A long or wordy email can complicate what you're trying to say. If you are going to ask for something, be direct and make the request. You could state why you need it, but don't say too much. Just say what you need and finish the email shortly after.
- If you tend to write long emails or text messages, people will likely only give them a quick glance instead of perusing them. If you can't stop writing a lot, consider putting the most important things first.
Keep in mind that emails don't provide as many social clues as facial expressions and tone of voice. Therefore, you should use clear language and avoid sarcasm.
Emoticons are useful for social posts, but will be inappropriate for most business posts
Step 3. Focus on a single topic
The message should be as simple as possible. Don't beat around the bush or give too many additional details, and don't touch on multiple topics in a single email. It is best to focus on one point or topic at a time, rather than many things in an email. If you have multiple topics to address, address one at a time by mail. In this way, the person will be able to delete each email as they touch on each topic, and they will not forget to do or address something.
If you insist on playing multiple topics at once, you should define them clearly. Use bullet points or another organizing system to clarify content
Step 4. Get straight to the point
It's okay to start emails by saying something like "How are you?" or another polite greeting, but don't spend too much time talking about something unrelated to what you're looking for. Focus on the request or information that you want to share with her. Don't beat around the bush or give too many preliminary details. Instead, go straight to what you want or have to say.