HOW TO COMMUNICATE BETTER
It Takes Two or More To Tango
Some “experts” talk about having the right “mindset” to communicate, but what does that mean, really? If you want to say something and you’re willing to present yourself (by communicating by phone, in person or through a computer) to people who might say something to you, you have all the mindset needed, if you also know how to communicate better.
A more simplified view is that effective communication is about application of communication skills. A finite set of rules defines communication, which must be followed, but learning them is easy.
- someone to originate the communication;
- some distance;
- someone to receive the communication;
- an originator and a receiver who are aware of, have attention on, each other;
- a clear message;
- an intention to ensure the arrival of the message;
- an intention on the part of the receiver to receive the message;
- the message received, copied, and understood;
- receipt and understanding of the message, acknowledged;
- the acknowledgement acknowledged.
First of all, noise — verbiage, conversation — is not de facto communication. Without its basic needs present and active, communication does not exist. Watching Congressional members meet on C-Span makes this abundantly clear to the rest of us, accounting for their poor ratings among surveyed voters.
Next, communication succeeds best when it flows in two directions. A message gone on too long in one direction stifles the possibility of more communication. Couples experience this phenomena often: one spouse talks too long or disallows the other’s attempts to communicate, and soon the other spouse checks out mentally. From that point forward… it’s all noise!
As needed, communication reverses flows to remain viable. At times, you speak; other times, you listen. While not required of every casual communication, it is an important function of any commercial communication.
To initiate communication, one person must first let another know that one is “there.” There is no point to attempt a communication, if one’s attention toward the other person is either nonexistent, or only slightly present. Conversely, another’s attention or awareness must include your presence.
If no one is “home” at all on either side, the result is no communication possible!
In other words, to communicate you must first place your attention on the object of your message delivery, and obtain their attention toward you. Once done, two of the most basic ingredients needed to make any communication are established: a mutual presence and mutual willingness to be there and communicate.
Communications Have a Destination
Communication also requires intention on your part. By analogy, a car cannot move unless someone presses the accelerator. With communication, the accelerator that propels a message is the capability and action of actively intending words to arrive where the intended recipient is.
Such an intended message in a form that the other can readily assimilate and understand is paramount.
In practice, communication is less mentally intrusive than “experts” want you to believe. Delving into the mindset of another person is not a necessary function of communication, other than observing their attitude so that you can match it. (Speaking to an angry person angrily about some neutral subject perks their interest in your message, for example.)
Extracting emotional responses from the other guy, albeit somewhat important at times, is not as fundamental a datum as the understanding of the message of a communication. Whether or not the recipient duplicates and understands a message consciously or sub-consciously is not as fundamental a datum as the fact of the communication being understood.
And who cares on what level the message, anyhow? The utter simplicity of any communication is: “Did it arrive? Was it duplicated and understood? Was it acknowledged?
No Kumbaya in Communication
Recipients of a communication do not need to become “one” with the messenger. The messenger does not need to become the recipient in order to establish a communication cycle. Merely the will to establish three factors — mutual attention, a line on which to communicate (talk, listen, understand, acknowledge), and a message — makes communication possible.
Unfortunately, these three data are too simple for most communication “experts,” let alone to grasp that how to communicate better relies on one, fundamental underlying fact: to communicate anything to anyone, two people must first be willing to communicate. All effective communication skills are founded on this most important attitude. Any execution of communication includes an observation on the part of at least two people that they are willing to participate.
Is Communication Obsolete Today?
Most casual conversation today is just noise masquerading as communication. Witness television’s unscripted reality shows.
Audiences elect their public speakers as messengers (“Cause”), hoping to gain knowledge, understanding, or confidence about a subject by being their willing recipients (“Effect”). Audiences generally do not remember the exact words of the speaker but they take away and recall how they felt about the speaker’s performance in terms of how well the messenger “communicated” or resonated with them. Similarly, buyers do not remember a sales pitch; yet, they remember how they felt about the salesperson. In fact, decisions to purchase result largely from how well a salesperson communicated to them!
Learning about communication and understanding its fundamental facts and requirements is, therefore, an important skill for the present and the future. The past tells us that whenever communication broke down, quarrels, disputes and wars resulted. How to communicate better is, therefore, no light matter to consider.
The Art of How To Communicate Better
The art of how to communicate better is steeped in the quality, not necessarily the significance, of what transpires between the messenger and the recipient. The quality of your communication as it applies to the person in front of you determines the speed and efficacy of your communications. In other words, the more artful your delivery, the more you actually penetrate and communicate.
Ultimately, though, fundamental communication is about how to convey a message and a sense of confidence across a distance to another person.
Specialized communications occur. How to communicate better in sales includes having a specific purpose to persuade, to bring to an agreement and an exchange of goods for valuables, usually money. Although the sales prospect may, at first, have his mind set on a different direction, the salesperson fully names, wants, and works to create the effect of an exchange, if at all possible. The salesperson aims to inspire with whatever communication he perceives will build confidence and lead to a mutual trust with his prospective customer. Someone parting with his hard-earned money is fundamentally based on the idea that he will receive something worthwhile, which the salesperson must convey to him through his specialized communication skills. Once again, the operational fundamental is communication. Knowing how to communicate better, therefore, helps both sales person and prospective customer come to agreement.
Good Communication Inspires Confidence
How to communicate better is easily teachable and fun for the trainees! Communication breaks down into specific identifiable parts. Separated, studied and drilled repeatedly, each part leads to perfection in execution. The ability to communicate well depends upon:
- having and knowing the correct, key data of communication,
- constantly performing effective training drills that improve vital communication skills, and
- applying learned communication skills to every opportunity to communicate.
None of these is hard to learn or do.
The study and practice of the component parts of communication can lead to Peace on Earth. People who do understand the basic data and how to communicate better, who are capable and free to communicate whatever they want to communicate, are more easily understood. Understanding his fellow-man and being understood is what every man, woman and child on Earth wants.
He who knows how to communicate better, who can easily and with precision get his message across to others, contributes to the ultimate goal of all Mankind.
The road to Peace on Earth runs through learning and applying how to communicate better.
© 2014 by Ronald Joseph Kule. All Rights Reserved.