Communication Skills … say it right!

Communication SkillsThe telephone and the written word are communication mainstays. However, relatively new technology makes it faster and easier for people to communicate with one another. People now regularly communicate via electronic mail (e-mail), the Internet, intranets, pagers, voice mails, faxes, smart phones and teleconferencing (both desktop and video) and various mobile devices.

It is imperative that team leaders clearly convey information and ideas through a variety of media to individuals or groups. The ideas must engage the audience and help them understand and retain a clear and convincing message.

The issue that we face is determining the most effective option for our communication. This is important because research shows that people screen out or misinterpret as much as 73% of the messages they receive. The huge amount of information that assaults people and the intense speed with which they’re expected to respond can add up to a gigantic communication challenge. This is why we suggest that your ability to communicate, to understand and be understood can make the difference between being a good communicator or a great communicator.

This article focuses on talking to or interacting with small informal groups or one–on-one conversations. Team leaders and supervisors must have numerous interactions with their superiors, peers, team members, customers and clients as well as regulatory agencies.

Team leaders and supervisors most often have to present their reports and answer questions about the content. When done effectively, your ideas and position are more readily accepted as valid and well researched. You must also consider body language that will give you the best opportunity to make a successful and effective presentation.

The basic principles that underlie all communication are to adjust the communication to the audience by organizing it to maintain their attention and ensure their understanding. Communicators must also adhere to accepted conventions to ensure that they are understood and can make themselves understood by others. These basic principles will also ensure that your business and personal communications are direct, efficient, well organized, purposeful and timely. An additional benefit is that your team members or anyone that you are addressing will feel valued and respected.

Effective communication skills makes it possible for your team members to experience fewer misunderstandings, share information with others who could benefit from the knowledge, build trust and obtain commitment to their ideas.

Effective communicators think clearly and speak and write concisely to achieve their goal of informing, instructing, or influencing others. When the members of your team or organization are communicating effectively, there are many benefits that will help you to reach your desired objectives.

The Focused Discussion Model©
Finding sufficient time to communicate with your team can be difficult. This means that when you have an interaction with your team, the exchange must be productive and on target. The Focused Discussion Model helps you to achieve the results you need. When you meet with a person or your team, formally or informally, in person or over the phone, every interaction you have must generate results and accomplish its purposes effectively.

Think of a conversation or interaction where you expected to discuss a specific issue only to have the conversation veer in an unexpected direction. You probably left the discussion uncertain about what you should do, what agreements were made and the deadlines for completed action. Most of us would characterize a discussion of this nature as a waste of time. When you use the Focused Discussion Model, you ensure more effective communication.

You must get people to focus on what’s important, to work together to come up with an idea or a plan, and to walk away committed to following through on the actions to which everyone has agreed. In this section you will learn some rules that will guide you through any type of discussion.


1 – Open the Discussion
2 – List the Issues
3 – Discuss the Issues and Involve Stakeholders
4 – Develop Action Plans and Commit
5 – End the Discussion

There are two other implementation requirements of the Focused Discussion Model. The first is effective listening. There are tested reasons for this model. You must confirm and ensure that your team members share the same understanding and interpretations that you do.

This prevents misunderstandings, conflicts and wasted time. The second requirement of the Focused Discussion Model is asking questions. When you ask questions and encourage others to share their understanding of the issues at various times during the discussion, you encourage ownership of the stakeholders in whatever decision or agreement is reached.

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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Posted in Communication Skills, Leadership

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