In a recent issue of Inc., Jason Fried talked about how he’s taking lessons in Ruby on Rails, a programming framework that powers tens of thousands of websites worldwide, so he can communicate better with the programmers who work for him.
He’s an expert in design and doesn’t speak the same language as the programmers. So he decided it would be smart to learn enough about what they do to communicate with them.
He said, “Learning how to program has taught me I need to explain things more clearly–and not only to machines. I used to assume a lot and rush through things, but now, when I describe something new to someone, I find myself slowing down, breaking the idea down in my mind and explaining it piece by piece. I’d rather be asked to speed up than risk going too fast and skipping over the fundamentals that really matter.”
Most people have to work to develop their skills and strengths. You don’t need to go back to school to learn how to be a better communicator. PR Daily offers some tips to help you hone your skills.
Be Honest and Transparent
Whether the news is positive or negative, it’s best to be forthright, honest, and timely. People appreciate transparency and truth.
Make a Point
Have a clear vision and direction you want your communication to head. Set expectations on what you’re going to say and state your intention or what you want to accomplish to keep your communication relevant and on topic. Be prepared to be challenged though, not everyone will agree with what you have to say.
Build a Connection
Shake people’s hands, look them in the eye, and listen to what they have to say. Find some common ground with your audience whether it’s weather, sports, news, or hobbies. A sense of connection leads to a more receptive listener.
Listen and Ask Questions
To communicate effectively, listento your audience. What are their concerns? What nonverbal cues have they given you? Know when it’s time to listen and when to talk. Don’t assume your audience knows what you know. When you describe something new to someone, break it down and explain it piece by piece. Fried says if you assume nothing, you have a better shot at making a clear and deep connection.
The best communicators are great listeners and are perceptive in their observations. They are skilled at reading people by sensing their moods, attitudes, values, and concerns.
What other tips would you add?