Effective Communication

Published on 26 Aug 2014 at 8:23 pm.
Filed under writing.

Effective communication is hard to master and easy to forget. So how do you improve communication?

Effective communication means being clear with everything you say. This can get tricky when communicating through text because you cannot read body language to know how you’re coming across. Verbose text lead to TL;DR syndrome (too long; didn’t read). Keeping things short introduces ambiguity to the conversation. To avoid this you should repeat your main point three times in different ways. By saying it differently you’re more likely to have it connect with your audience.

Even if you’re clear at the beginning of a conversation you’ll shorten your replies as the conversation progresses. People have short attention spans and they want to move on to the next thing. You must fight this urge or the details will become unclear. So what should you do?

Effective Communication Tip: Avoid “Just”

Do not command someone with the word “just”. Even worse avoid the phrase “just simply”. “Just” is ignorant. “Just simply” is arrogant. When you tell someone to “just” do something you are telling them that you know everything about the situation. To you there are no unknowns and you know the solution. When you say “just simply” you are taking that sentiment to the next level. To you the solution is simple and easy.

Effective Communication Tip: Avoid "Just"

Fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings will tell you that one does not simply walk into Mordor. One may think that walking into a place is easy but Mordor is a hellacious land. Telling someone to “just simply walk into Mordor” is arrogant because it thinks a task is simple when it is truly not.

Effective Communication Tip: Know the Audience

If you are writing to people in the field you can use jargon and abbreviations and assume they understand. If you are writing to a general audience make sure you generalize or explain unavoidable technical details. Consider the following:

Skye used TCP to parse the HyperText to correlate signatures.

That sentence is too technical for most people. They might get a base understanding but you risk losing the audience. Compare that to the following:

Skye found it on the web.

That version is clear. It didn’t include unnecessary technical language. This lowers the bar for understanding and helps you connect with your audience.

Effective Communication Tip: Diagnostic Feedback

Fully reading replies is important. Never skim through a reply. You wrote something and they made an effort to reply. Treat them like a real person. If you find the answer unclear do not ask again the same way. It will make them feel like you didn’t care what they had to say. Respond back asking for clarity, perhaps being more specific.

If they asked you a question in their reply then try to give feedback. If you just ignore it they will wonder if you skipped that part. Even if you cannot answer at that time you will make them feel valued if you can acknowledge the question.

Do you have any tips for effective communication you would like to share? Please leave a comment.

Thank you and keep building your brand.

Effective communication is hard to master and easy to forget. So how do you improve communication?

This post was originally published as Effective Communication for Brand Builder Websites.

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