Principles of effective communication were brought home to me very recently when I was reading advertisements for positions on the business/social medium Linked-in.
It is really quite amazing how many major organisations do not seem to understand why effective communication is important.
Do not say a little in many words but a great deal in a few
Read the advertisement and consider whether you might apply for the position:
We are looking to expand our group of specialists within People Solutions, the management training branch of our organisation. Training and organisational consultants (internally referred to as People Solutions specialists) work with our clients to provide a foundation for the sustainability of improved business practices and employee and management behaviours.
We do this by aligning and engaging people in cutting edge communications, change management, education, training and coaching to support our project architecture and pursuit of measurable results. These solutions are customised to our client workplace, designed specifically for the client need at hand, ultimately engaging the hearts and minds of people to establish buy-in and maintain their involvement throughout and beyond our intervention. This, coupled with creative learning processes and tools, provides the basis for accelerated change.
I read this several times and I haven’t the slightest idea what it means.
I wonder if it is for a consultant to peddle some sort of cow manure; the ad certainly seems to have been written by one.
If the advertiser seeks to recruit people of a similar mind set, he will certainly attract them.
They will be able to baffle each other with their meaningless gobbledygook and watch their erstwhile customers raise their eyebrows as they turn towards another supplier.
That example is sufficient to demonstrate what very good communicators do not do.
Great communicators have three essential qualities. They know at the outset the purpose of their communication and the direction it should take.
In other words, they are able to identify their outcome and know it to be achievable.
Secondly, they know what they will see, hear and feel when they have achieved their outcome.
Finally, they are flexible in the sense that they are able to change continually and adjust to achieve their desired outcomes.
If the writer of the Linked-in ad had a goal when he composed it, it is difficult to discern from his words. Success in any area requires the setting of goals, yet so few people will bother to think it through.
Use the SMART method of determining any particular goal: S – Specific; M – measurable; A – attainable; R – realistic; T – timeframe. This NLP model goes further than goals and leads you to your desired outcome.
If you wish to acquire effective business communication skills, decide positively what you wish to achieve.
In fact, our mind is not good at processing negatives. If I say to you, Don’t think of elephants, or Don’t think of the colour blue what do you immediately do?
You cannot not think about it without thinking about it first! Ask a small child not to run, and she makes an image of running. Far better to ask the child to walk.
So always think firstly about the image you wish to create in yours or somebody else’s mind.
It is always more productive to think about what we want to achieve rather than about something we don’t want to get. It will also assist your motivation.
A towards attitude of I am going to achieve X rather than an away approach of saying I wish to avoid Y is much more likely to propel you towards your goal.
If those desiring to lose weight were to focus on how they wished to look, the clothes they wanted to wear and a healthy lifestyle, they would be more motivated to achieve their objective than by making mental pictures of themselves appearing overweight, in oversize clothes, feeling unhealthy with a poor self-image.
At the outset therefore ask a few questions: (1) What do you want? (2) When you have what you want, what will it actually do for you? (3) Have you stated what you want positively? (4) Do you see yourself achieving that outcome?
As our minds process information through our senses, that is, sight, sounds and feelings, we need then to consider each of those senses against our desired outcome.
So see yourself achieving the objective, hear what you would hear and feel what you would feel.
That, too, will help to propel you towards your objective. It will also enable you to know when you have achieved it, what you will see, what you will hear and what you will feel.
Ask yourself now if you alone control the outcome. Remember that we cannot control other people. Sometimes people ask how they can control someone else’s behaviour.
The answer is that they cannot, but they can control their response to it, and by taking that approach the other person may find a way of avoiding the behaviour they are exhibiting.
It is important that the outcome you desire is not left in the hands of others or you put yourself in their power.
What is the timeframe and limitations you wish to impose?
Consider the situations where the outcome you want will not be appropriate. Are there any? Or will it be all right anywhere with anyone?
When people consider what they stand to gain from achieving their result, they so often fail to consider what they will also lose.
So consider what you stand to lose. What we do now gives us some pleasurable feeling or benefit or we would not do it.
If illicit drug takers did not get some immediate feeling of pleasure or some sort of kick out of their habit, they would not take the drugs.
It is the same with smokers or overeaters. Are you prepared to give up that secondary gain or pleasure in order to achieve the greater objective?
Finally, consider the resources you will need. Is this the first time you have attempted anything of the sort, or have you done it before?
If you have, what worked successfully last time? Is that something you could draw upon on this occasion?
If you haven’t, do you know someone else who has been successful? Is there a model elsewhere that you could adapt for your purpose?
For further principles of effective communication, at this stage you might find it useful to read the pages on the NLP meta model, Generalisations, Deletion and Distortion which will take you further into this area and provide you with the keys you need.
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