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6 Ways To Make Your Every Message Count In Daily Communication

6 Ways To Make Your Every Message Count In Daily Communication

Being a brilliant communicator is more about the way we think than articulating our messages fluently and interestingly. No matter how carefully you choose your words, you can never fully control how your message will be received. What you do can influence the content, tone, and intensity of your message.

When you apply these 6 ways to improve your communication, your words will become more powerful. You’ll increase your chances that people actually hear what you’re saying.

1. Prepare yourself before the conversation.

Take some time before sharing your ideas. This will make you more confident when talking to people. As a result, your message will be more powerful and easier to understand.

Before opening your mouth, ask yourself what is your real aim in this conversation? What message do you want your listeners to remember? Whether you’re talking with your partner or your colleagues, stress and frustration can cause you to speak less clearly. Clarifying your emotions before a conversation can help you to avoid beating around the bush and going into tangents on minor points. It’s important to stick to the main subject – the one you feel most passionate about.

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Keep in mind that this conversation won’t necessarily go the way you’ve planned it. Anticipate negative replies in advance so you don’t have to wing it.

2. Keep it simple.

Use as few words as possible to communicate your message. Keeping it concise offers less room for misunderstandings and boredom. Even though you may think what you’re saying is the most interesting thing on earth, your listeners may not share this feeling. If you speak for too long, they will stop paying attention and may not understand your message.

Also, the simpler and more concrete your message is, the more you can focus on your body language — which is 55% of all communication! Stand with your body open and inclusive. Plant your feet firmly on the floor, distribute your weight evenly, and look people in the eye.

3. Use positive language.

Our subconscious mind doesn’t hear negatives. Your message will be more efficient if you speak positively. Instead of telling people what not to do, let them know what you actually want them to do.

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For example: “You hang out with your friends too much and you never have time for me!” is not likely to be well-received. Instead, use a precise request: “I miss hanging out with you. Let’s spend Saturday evening together”.

4. Think from the listener’s perspective.

Flip around your thinking and try to imagine how your listeners will take your message. Use this method to develop a balanced and clear approach. In this era of texting (and other types of impersonal messages) our communications can be easily misunderstood.

Dr. Rosenberg (a communication expert) says, “The more we empathize with the other party, the safer we feel ourselves.” By connecting to your listeners’ humanity, they are more likely to realize the value of your ideas and find common ground with you.

Take into consideration the influencing emotions which can play in the perception of a message. Don’t demand, but gently and precisely indicate what you want from another person.

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For example: “I’d like you to wash the dishes after dinner.” might come across the wrong way. Try a softer approach: ”Would you be willing to wash the dishes after dinner?”

5. Avoid judgments.

People usually feel bad when you judge their behaviour. Judgment creates a power dynamic of superiority and inferiority which makes people defensive. This can derail a conversation and prevent healthy dialogue.

Differentiating observation from evaluation is a key step in improving your communication skills. As the Indian philosopher J. Krhnamurti says, “Observation without evaluation is the highest form of human intelligence.”

Even if you disagree with someone’s behaviour, remember this is nothing more than your own subjective opinion. Train yourself to stay mindful and to notice judgmental thoughts — these can lead you to unconsciously choose judgmental language in your conversations.

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For example: “You’re so naive.” is a judgment which would likely provoke a defensive reaction, whereas this second sentence explains a fact: “When I see you accepting Rob’s explanations, even though we know he’s lied to us before, I think you’re being naive.”

6. Stick to the facts.

Approach people with logic and an objective mind. A conversation supported by facts is less likely provoke hostility because no one can argue with the facts.

Especially when describing a tricky point, be as precise as you can and rely on simple facts. Avoid generalizations and words such as “always” and “never”.

For example: “You never accomplish your tasks on time.” is an opinion which will likely provoke a negative reaction. State a simple fact: “On our last three projects, we met our goals late because you delivered your work after your deadline.”

Communication is a skill which we have an opportunity to practise every day. As it is one the most useful skills we can acquire in life, mastering it is a good idea. Strive to not only be a good communicator, but to be an excellent one!

Featured photo credit: Stokpic via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

More Resources About Job Interviews

Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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