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Last Updated on June 5, 2019

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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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

More Tips About Making Influence

Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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