12 Tips for Clear Communication

In the world today, clear communication is hard to maintain. People trust the clear and mistrust the ambiguous. Much of the time, communication is done via email, phone, or messaging. Clear communication is a hard skill to learn and it has become increasingly more difficult in the technological climate of today. Many of us struggle to finish a conversation without glancing at our phone, watching the TV in a restaurant or any number of other distractions available to us today.

Anyone familiar with the academic side of communication can tell you, it’s very difficult for any two people, much less groups, to accurately convey meaning to one another. Our minds are too filled with our own assumptions. For example, suppose I asked you to think of a person riding a horse. Some of you, by virtue of your background or imagination, might picture someone galloping through the mountains. Others of you might instinctively envision someone else, jumping gates in an arena. Your mind’s eye colors things differently than others based on your experiences. No two people ever perfectly communicate. However, the more clear our communication, the greater the ability to trust.

Now think about your life. Whether you are having a face-to-face conversation, talking on the phone, or responding to an email, it can be extremely difficult to set your ego aside and show the other person that you care about what they have to say. All the variables that go into clear communication need to be practiced. Even if you are a naturally good listener, it still is something that you need to continually work on to become a great listener. If you are great at asking questions, you may need work on simplifying or deciphering the answers to those questions.

12 Tips for Clear Communication

1. Listen

2. Empathize

3. Avoid manipulation. Don’t overstate or understate

4. Speak honestly and without exaggeration

5. Stay focused and avoid distractions

6. Ask questions

7. Glean information from the non-verbal communication

8. Keep an open mind and do not jump to conclusions

9. Do not criticize

10. Simplify the complicated

11. First seek to understand, then to be understood

12. Mean what you say

Clear communication is difficult for another reason. Some studies suggest that over 90% of the meaning we derive comes from non-verbal cues that one person gives to another. That means only 10% of communication is based on words we say! Clear communication is work.

“The vision is really about empowering workers, giving them all the information about what’s going on so they can do a lot more than they’ve done in the past.”

-Bill Gates

 

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