There are many things you can do to ensure that your verbal messages are understood time and time again. Although somewhat obvious and deceptively simple, these include:
Keep the message clear.
Keep the message simple.
Be vivid when delivering the message.
Keep the message concise.
Preparation is underrated. In fact, it is one of the most important factors in determining your communication successes. When possible, set meeting times and speaking and presentation times well in advance, thus allowing yourself the time you need to prepare your communications, mindful of the entire communication process (source, encoding, channel, decoding, receiver, feedback and context). By paying close attention to each of these stages and preparing accordingly, you ensure your communications will be more effective and better understood.
Of course, not all communications can be scheduled. In this case, preparation may mean having a good, thorough understanding of the office goings-on, enabling you to communicate with the knowledge you need to be effective, both through verbal and written communications.
Being prepared: Guidelines for Thinking Ahead:
Ask yourself:Who? What? How? When? Where? Why?
Whoare you speaking to? What are their interests, presuppositions and values? What do they share in common with others; how are they unique?
Whatdo you wish to communicate? One way of answering this question is to ask yourself about the 'success criteria'. How do you know if and when you have successfully communicated what you have in mind?
Howcan you best convey your message? Language is important here, as are the nonverbal cues discussed earlier. Choose your words and your nonverbal cues with your audience in mind. Plan a beginning, middle and end. If time and place allow, consider and prepare audio-visual aids.
When?Timing is important here. Develop a sense of timing, so that your contributions are seen and heard as relevant to the issue or matter at hand. There is a time to speak and a time to be silent. 'It's better to be silent than sing a bad tune.'
Where?What is the physical context of the communication in mind? You may have time to visit the room, for example, and rearrange the furniture. Check for availability and visibility if you are using audio or visual aids.
Why?In order to convert hearers into listeners, you need to know why they should listen to you – and tell them if necessary. What disposes them to listen? That implies that you know yourself why you are seeking to communicate – the value or worth or interest of what you are going to say.
Be concise. Be brief. Use short words and sentences. Where appropriate, support these with short, easy-to-understand examples, which help demonstrate your message.