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Effective Communication: How Not to Be Misunderstood

Effective Communication: How Not to Be Misunderstood

Communication is an important tool that plays a defining role in developing an understanding with everyone around us, on an everyday basis. Whether it is a simple task of writing an email or giving a presentation, communication adds on to the productivity and progress. Therefore it is important that when a message is delivered there is no miscommunication between the sender and the receiver. To avoid misunderstanding one has to make sure that the message is clear and simple.

Though we have access to the best of medium, yet many times we fail to deliver an error free, perfect message during verbal and written communication. As per a recent survey recruiters admitted that communication skills play an important role when choosing managers. It plays an important role in being successful in today’s world.

One of the most common reasons that leads to miscommunication or misinterpretation of a message is the use of complicated sentence structure. A message is easy to understand when the sentences are short and crisp. Use of unnecessary fillers like kind of, sort of, maybe, etc bring in vagueness to the message.

5 Killer Skills to Make Your Message Clear

When communicating via a written medium, make sure to read and re-read before finalizing the copy/email/text. Once you are done with the proofreading, see if there are other interpretations to the message and whether you would like to eliminate them or not. Here are few more points one should follow for effective communication.

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1. Make the complicated simple. Make the simple simpler.

Always try to simplify your message. Bring down your sentences to the simplest degree to avoid ambiguity in your messages. If the words and sentences are simple the probability of understanding the message is higher. There is no point in highfalutin sentences, if the receiver doesn’t decodes the message correctly.

2. Start as a good listener.

Listening is another important aspect of being a good communicator. You cannot deliver a perfect message until you are a good listener. Without listening you will not know what are you being asked for.

3. No jargons. They hinder understanding.

Make sure you do not include vocabulary that can be difficult for the receiver to understand. Using jargons and technical terms can create misunderstanding if the decoder is not familiar with those words.

4. Make it concise and precise.

Brevity is the soul of wit as well as communication. Whether you are delivering a speech or writing an application or forwarding a formal text, always keep it to-the-point. Avoid unnecessary words, phrases and sentences.

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5. Check your spelling.

Never underestimate the effectiveness of spell-check. What you write, says a lot about and spelling error is something you would not want to begin with. It never leads to a good impression if your email or letter has spelling errors.

7 C’s to Ensure You’re Nailing the Killer Skills

Moving ahead, there are 7 C’s that are essential if you want to avoid misunderstanding in communication. There are applicable to both written as well as verbal communication.

Clarity

Clarity makes the message understandable. The message should be focused to one point and should not be catering to multiple things at once. The kinds of words you use and the type of sentence structure you form decides if the message is clear or not. Use words that are most familiar, instead of “Domicile” use “Home”

Conciseness

Concise means short and brief. A concise message is the one which communicates with minimum words and is not redundant in nature. The advantage with conciseness is that it pays attention to what is important and eliminate everything that’s unnecessary. It saves the time of the sender as well as the receiver. Eg- instead of using “in due course” use the word “soon”.

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Concreteness

Concreteness stands for strength and if you want to deliver a strong message you have to provide it with a solid foundation. Concreteness is important if you do not want your message to sound vague. You can do that by supporting your message with facts and figures. This makes you message more meaningful and effective.

Correctness

Like we have already talked about, in order to avoid misunderstandings, a message should be free from grammatical and spelling errors. Along with that, one also has to make sure that the fact and stats mentioned in the message are accurate and should be misleading to the receiver. Correctness of language plays a key role in avoiding misunderstanding in communication.

Coherence

Misunderstanding occurs when there is no consistency to the message that is being delivered. The receiver should be able to easily understand the message and that happens when the message remains focused and does not go off-topic. Bad Example: Being an excellent Doctor, I am sure you can help us. Good Example: As you are an excellent Doctor, I am sure you can help us.

Completeness

It is important that the ongoing communication should be complete. Incomplete messages can easily be misunderstood. White communicating, always make sure you provide all the relevant information to the receiver. Completeness not only make the communication strong but also enhances it. All you have to do is, answer the Who, What, Where, When, What and How of the situation.

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Courtesy

The element of courtesy bring in positive to the message. If the receiver knows that the sender is being polite and courteous he would always try and understand the message with a positive mindset.

Take Care of Your Ideas And Their Delivery

When you successfully send your message across, you cover your ideas effectively. Taking care of minor things can help you in delivering a message without any misunderstanding.

To achieve effective communication, all you have to do is making sure there are no communication barriers hampering the effectiveness of the message. Along with this, it is important to understand your target audience. After all, communication, being a dynamic phenomenon cannot be restricted to fixed format and rules.

Featured photo credit: Romain V via unsplash.com

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Lisa smith

Writer, Author & Designer

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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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