Have you ever listened to a speaker, participated in a conversation or read a letter, email, article or book and come away with an overwhelming sense of wonder? Not because the message provided deeper insight or new perspectives, but because you had no idea what the person was talking about? It’s happened to me too.
Excellent communication is critical because it can make or break relationships. Whether at personal, business or even national levels, communicating clearly (either verbally or in writing) requires a concentrated effort. If the speaker or writer fails to make a point, it becomes an exercise in futility.
If you’re the person with the message, it’s important for you to know your target audience – not just by name, title or demographic. Whether we realize it or not, we sometimes categorize people using statistics or broad-based generalities, yet each person is an individual with needs and wants the same as we have. As much as possible, we must understand who they are and how they think. What’s important to them, why do they need to know what we’re telling them, and how will all of this benefit them? If we have an idea of who they are, then we can speak their language to get our point across.
Communication is a multi-party process. If you’re in the listening/receiving chair, (and I’m speaking to myself here), have the courage to ask for clarification if you don’t understand. If we don’t, we’ve wasted our time and may miss out on something really important.