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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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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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