If you want your communication to be successful, there are a few
things you should consider.
Consider the Purpose
Before you jump into a conversation, consider the outcome you
hope to gain from it. Too many times, we just start talking without
specific goals for the conversation. At the end of the conversation,
we walk off frustrated because we haven't received what we wanted
from the encounter. To reduce frustration - on the part of both
participants - plan what outcome you want before speaking. Then
set up the outcome by announcing at the beginning of the conversation
what you hope to accomplish. You'll be able to cut down on the amount
of wasted time and gain respect from your colleagues for respecting
their time as well. You'll obtain your desired results with a greater
degree of frequency, too.
Consider the Place
In addition to thinking about your intent in talking with someone,
also consider the place. Just because you both end up in a particular
location at a particular point in time does not mean that that's
the opportune time to have a particular conversation. Business conversations
should take place at the business or at networking events specifically
designed for such chats. Social occasions should be just that -
a chance to relax and be social, to get to know folks better - not
to finish conducting business left over from the office. Successful
communication is more probable when both parties are focused on
the business at hand, not distracted by events going on around them
or the need to pay attention to some other activity.
Consider the Person
Think about the person with whom you'll be having the conversation.
What is their communication style? Do they need to have discussion
points in writing in advance to be able to be prepared? Do they
need lots of detail? Are they the type of person who needs to schmooze
before getting down to facts or are they the "cut to the chase"
type who gets irritated at idle chatter? Do they need time to process
information before making a decision or do they spontaneously okay
something that sounds new and interesting? By thinking about that
person's communication style, you can tailor your communication
behavior to meet their needs, thereby ensuring a more successful
Consider Your Personality
What kind of person are you? Are you the fast-talking, lots of
gestures, likes to hear themselves talk kind of person? Are you
a totally goal-oriented, down to business kind of person? Do you
like lots of details and organization and time to process information?
Do you just want to get along with everyone, do a good job, and
go home? Depending on who you are and your assessment of the person
you are going to talk with, you may need to modify your behavior
if you want to have the conversation end successfully. For example,
if you're the "spontaneous, this sounds like fun, let's do it" type
and you need to talk to the "lots of details, time to process information"
type, you'll need to take the time to get organized, plan what you're
going to say, and then slow down your speech and gestures. If you
don't modify your behavior to match that of the other person, you
run the risk of turning them off on your ideas because they're turned
off by your style. Better to mirror them to get your ideas across
and to get to know them better, and then relax into what's natural
behavior for you.
Clear communication always starts with the end in view. Know your
purpose, set the stage correctly for the time and place of the conversation,
consider the other person's communication style needs, and know
yourself. Thinking through these four keys will help ensure that
your conversations are meaningful, relevant, and accomplish your
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