I want to share with you a simple tool I like to use. I call it the self-check up communication tool. Basically, it is a checklist that you can use to make sure that you are communicating effectively as much as possible and in all kinds of situations. If you do these things that I’m about to share with you, I guarantee that your communication skills will increase by leaps and bounds.
The list has 5 things to keep in mind when speaking to people and when you are giving any type of direction. Let's break it down one-by-one:
- Make sure you’re focused. When you are speaking with someone, make sure to focus on them and give them your undivided attention. Focusing really takes effort and energy. If you can take all your energy and focus on one thing, nothing would be too difficult for you to figure out. You would be able to master all things (not just communication). If you can simply focus on just one thing at a time it will help to show a certain level of commitment and increase the connection you will have while communicating with other people.
- Make sure your brain isn’t on auto-pilot. The mind has a tendency of selecting a certain amount of information to retain before your attention is divided with other thoughts and you’re not even actively listening to the other party anymore. This is what we refer to as daydreaming. I’m sure you’ve experienced this when your mind just wanders off in the middle of class while the teacher is giving a boring lecture. We’ve all done it. I’m guilty of that as well. However if you can actively keep your mind in the conversation, you will gain a lot more information than you would otherwise.
- Make sure you clarify your expectations. This is a big one. Misfortune can come from miscommunication. And that means when you miscommunicate, people usually misinterpret your message and things don’t go as smoothly as you would like. When your message isn’t clear, there is a greater chance for it to be misunderstood. As my Sifu always says “slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.” So take your time and learn to clarify what you are conveying to others.
- Make sure you explain and show how you want something done. People execute tasks and learn better with a proper example of what needs to be done. So don’t just say what you want to be done and walk away. Give them a proper example of how to do it properly. I like to think, if you want it done right, show me how to do it first.
- Make sure you let the expectation be known up front. To avoid any confusion or misunderstanding you should always let people know what you expect of them when you’re giving orders and directives. When people know what your expectations are it helps them accomplish a task more efficiently because they have a greater understanding of what’s expected of them. Doing this right can save you time, money and lots of frustration.
You can use this communication tool not only in your professional life but even more so in your personal life. If you are a parent; when you’re speaking with your kids you should always keep this checklist in the back of your mind. If you are in a relationship, I guarantee you that this will help you incur less arguments. That is to say that arguments will still happen but not as often. If you use this tool right it can improve communication in any relationship.