Amy Rees Anderson

Tips for Being a Good Communicator

A while back I was able to attend a seminar by Dr. John Lund on communication. He gave some amazing advice on how to communicate better with others and I absolutely loved learning from him. I thought I would share some tips he gave that you can incorporate into your communication with others. The best quote he stated was this, “Don`t communicate to be understood, rather, communicate so as not to be misunderstood.“ What amazing advice!….

He said that men in general as well as women in business settings (so men all the time, and women mostly in a work setting only) want to know three things BEFORE they are willing to enter into a conversation with you:

1.  Is what you want to talk about going to be painful?

2.  How long is it going to take?

3.  When you are done talking, what do you want from me?

If they don’t know these three things up front they will make excuses to avoid your call or to avoid talking to you on the phone.  The same applies if you come into contact with them in person.  He shared that your manager or boss in a work setting will always want to know those three things in advance of agreeing to a conversation as well.  The reason he gave was that men and executive women always want to know the exit to the conversation before they feel safe engaging in it.  So for example, if you call a person on the phone to sell something to them or to ask a favor of them, the first thing you may want to say is “I realize how busy you are so I will only need one minute of your time to let you know about _____so I can _____.”  This way the other person knows it will be quick and painless and that you just want to give them a few facts on the call that will only last two minutes.  Now they can relax and listen to you as you share the request info.  Otherwise, if they don’t know that information on how long and painful the call will be, they may try to make an excuse that they can’t talk right now etc.  Same thing goes for the sales teams.  They cold call a prospective client and the first thing out of their mouth needs to be something to the effect of, “I realize that your time is very valuable so I will only need two minutes to schedule a time for a second call where I can do a ten minute demonstration of our system..”  Same goes for approaching your manager or boss.  Let them know if it will be painful, how long it will take and the end result you are asking for going into setting up a meeting and they are much more apt to schedule a time for you :).

One other really great tip he shared was about the way we interpret communication from others, and this is very interesting statistics he shared.  When someone else communicates with us the way we interpret their message is based on the following three things:

55% is based on their facial expressions and their body language.

37% is based on the tone of their voice.

8% is based on the words they say.

He said that these percentages above are the averages across both men and women together, but that if you did women alone they would even give greater weight to the facial expression and body language and even less on the words.  This tells us that it is critical that we become very self-aware of how our body language is speaking to others as well as the tone we use.  One thing I always recommend to people is to keep a small mirror by your office phone so that when you are on the phone talking to people you can look in the mirror because it makes you more aware of the facial expressions you have and that makes you smile more which ends up coming through in your tone of voice over the phone.  It works wonders on how well you come off on a phone call, trust me!

I think we can all benefit from learning tips on how to better communicate and how to make sure we communicate in a way as to not be misunderstood by others.  So the challenge is for all of us to work on our communication skills.  Do better on approaching people with the tips at the top of this blog and then make sure you relay your message in a way that pays attention to the second tip in the blog.  I plan to keep these things in mind myself and try to use them in my own day and  see how much better things go.

Have a BEAUTIFUL Friday with loads of fabulous communication to all!

~Amy

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