Are We Communicating or What? Part 4 of 4
Two weeks ago, we defined the four major touchpoints of communication (which I call the four crappy communicators) as:
1. what you’re thinking;
2. what you actually say;
3. what the other person hears; and
4. how the other person interprets what’s heard.
So, what’s the secret to being a great communicator? It’s simple: Excellent communicators make sure that what they say is interpreted correctly. Most people communicate to be heard. They’re most concerned that the listener hears what they say.
But there’s one step beyond No. 4 above, and it takes some training on the part of the speaker. The next time you’re speaking, watch the other people closely. Did they get what you said, or are they just acknowledging your words? With practice, you’ll be able to notice some differences. If you’re not sure, ask people you’re speaking with to mirror back what you said. Compare their responses to see if you delivered your message successfully.
3 Characteristics of Gifted Communicators
1. They’re very animated — they convey their meaning through movement, body language and even hand signals (like “air quotes” and such).
2. They speak with intention — they choose their words carefully, leaving no room for interpretation.
3. They’re very descriptive — they use analogies, metaphors, anything they can to make their point. If you try these three on for size, however, be careful: too much of this can ruin a good conversation. Watch to see if your listeners’ eyes glaze over when you’re speaking.
There’s one type of communicator that you don’t ever want to become: the person who speaks to hear him- or herself speak. These people aren’t really concerned about the listeners understanding what they’re saying. All they want to do is speak, to get it out, so they can feel satisfied that they communicated. They forget to “look over there” when speaking, because their primary concern is to get the communication out. Their mind-set is if they say it, you’ll get it. When dealing with these people, especially in business, be the better communicator. Mirror back what they just said to make sure you get it fully.
Also, remember that communicating is a two-way street. Be an active listener, and don’t just accept what you hear.
Finally, as a listener and interpreter of communication, I urge you to beware of duplicity. Business is full of BS, subterfuge and political agendas. Know who you’re communicating with and adjust accordingly. Make sure you listen past the BS to get to the real meaning.
Well, that’s it for this week. I hope I delivered this communication effectively. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.
Jim Gilbert is president of Gilbert Direct Marketing, a full-service catalog and direct marketing agency. His LinkedIn profile can be viewed at www.linkedin.com/in/jimwgilbert or you can post a comment here or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim Gilbert has been creating direct marketing programs that drive superior ROI for almost 30 years. Fluent in consumer or B-to-B, creative, operations, and analytics, he marries the strategic and tactical sides of direct and social media marketing in a seamless fashion that gets results. He's CEO of a multidiscipline direct marketing agency, Gilbert Direct Marketing, Inc., which focuses on direct mail, catalogs, DRTV, telemarketing, print, alternative direct marketing media and social media marketing. Jim has been involved in start-ups, expansions and turnarounds, and is an expert in helping multichannel marketers get to the "next level." He's a former adjunct professor, teaching direct marketing at Miami International University, and is President of the Board of Directors of the Florida Direct Marketing Association. Jim loves to talk direct marketing, and has done many lectures on direct and social media marketing.