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Free Tips on Communication. Tip 2: Efficient communication

photo of woman showing frustrations on her face
Photo by Yan Krukov on Pexels.com

How to improve your written and verbal communication and be understood the first time around.

We’ve all been there – we have all received that email filled with technical lingo, or sentence structures that just don’t make sense. We’ve had those conversations, where you are sure you are speaking the same language, but somehow you simply don’t understand what the other person is trying to say.

That’s where my tip of the week comes into play! With just a few simple steps, you can communicate clearly, so your receiver understands you the first time and you can avoid email ping-pong, trying to get your message across.

We all have different pre-existing bias and foundations of knowledge. With efficient communication we close the gap of opportunities for misunderstanding.

When it comes to written versus verbal communication, there are actually many ways in which these two require similar techniques, in order for the message to be understood successfully.

When preparing a piece of communication, no matter if it’s written or verbal, there are specific points you need to take into consideration, such as:

  • Tailoring and adapting communication style
  • Verbiage (choice of words)
  • History with receiver¬†
  • and much more

FOCUS of today: Formality and vocabulary

Formality and vocabulary are very important points to focus on in your communication, because these two points normally function at a subcontious level of our everyday lives. Think about it; how do you speak when talking with your boss and your colleagues at work? And then think about how you speak, and choose your words, when speaking with your friends, your parents or your grandparents. There’s probably a big difference, right?

Very basically put: You need to consider if your receiver will understand what you are trying to say. Basically, if your message will be received and understood the first time it is read.

You should always consciously consider if your verbal choices are appropriate, before using “lingo” or slang, technical language, or words that are used rarely. This point also counts when it comes to the level of formality you use, in a given situation.

My tip for the beginner within the field of communication is: 

– write down all the slang words and technical language you use on a daily basis

– make a note of, in which situations you make use of them 

– consider if people from other parts of your life or company, would understand these words

– consciously choose, when you want to use the different words and who will understand them

For people who work with customer service or a support function, this tip can be very helpful. We often find ourselves falling into the trap of using technical language when facing our clients. Before throwing a storm of technical terms at your “receiver”, you need to identify the level of understanding of this person, to assure that your message will be understood and your communication will be successful.

If you are communicating with a very technical language and your client is a newbie/beginner that doesn’t have the same knowledge as you, the client will most likely not feel understood and all of a sudden you will be dealing with a conflict. Please note, I will be dealing with the prevention of conflicts in communication in one of my future Free Tips on Communication.

You should also consider the level of formality needed, for the person you are communicating with. In regards to deciding the correct level of formality, my best tip is: Step back, listen, observe and adapt.

This is, ofcourse, a technique that takes some training to master, but if you start working with your communication at a conscious level, you will see yourself improving in no-time. I’m not telling you to change yourself or take on a fake level of formality – I’m asking you to map out your current habits and your knowledge of the different ways you talk with different people, and to practice utilizing the different formality levels you already know.

To put it shortly: 

1: Become conscious about your choice of words in relation to formality and the use of different styles of vocabulary. 

2: Practice using your own different styles for the most suitable situations.

Putting your technical language to the test with your friends, is a great way to discover your own professional-lingo-bias.

Are you blind to your own language bias?

PRACTICE: 

Find a recent experience you were excited about at work, to write about in a letter. 

Write one letter about this experience to your Grandparents and another letter, about the same experience, to a close friend. Refer to the list of technical words you created earlier and find synonyms, or write a short explanation, to help receivers understand your point.

Please note: It is extremely important that this exercise be taken seriously and that the actual differences in language, choice of words and what you highlight/tell about in your story, is made on a conscious level, otherwise you will not benefit from this exercise.

See if this simple technique makes a change and please give me feedback about how it worked, or maybe didn’t work.

Thanks for tuning in!
If you find this topic interesting and want to know more about efficient communication, feel free to contact me and I’ll be happy to have a virtual coffee with you

efficient communication

Avoiding technical language and lingo is the key to efficient communication.

Communicating at eye level with your receiver establishes trust and credibility.

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