We all communicate. The question is how well are we actually communicating?
Unfortunately poor communication continues to be cited as one of most significant barriers to high performance and strong relationships in every dimension of life and work.
You can, of course, work to get better at speaking. You can also work hard at choosing the right words to convey your message. Those things can certainly help you to be a better communicator.
Yet consider this:
Your effectiveness in communicating has less to do with how well you deliver the words, and a lot more to do with how well you connect with others in the process.
Connecting is the essential ingredient in effective communication.
Unfortunately most of our preparation when we have something important to communicate is all about us and what we want to say.
To connect, however, you must shift your attention first to others.
“Connecting is the ability to identify with people and relate to them in a way that increases your influence with them.” —John C. Maxwell, Everyone Communicates, Few Connect
So the next time you are preparing to deliver a message, start by considering to whom you are speaking.
…What matters to them?
…What are their most pressing concerns?
…What are their aspirations?
…How might your message affect them?
If you don’t know the answers, then ask. Seek to understand others before you seek to be understood by others.
Do this and you will significantly increase the likelihood that what you have to say actually gets heard and makes the impact you intend.
After all, the ultimate judges of how effective you are as a communicator are the people you most need to hear your message. If they aren’t listening, then you probably have work to do to make sure you are making a meaningful connection.
How do you ensure you make a connection that counts?
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