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Better ways to effective communication

Posted 1/19/2012   Updated 1/19/2012 Email story   Print story


by Master Sgt. Tonisha Layne
Equal Opportunity Office superintendent

1/19/2012 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Ever play the telephone game? Someone takes a message, relays it to someone else and by the time the message gets to the last person, it has usually been distorted so much the original intent has been changed.

So, why does this occur?

Many times, it is because people don't know how to effectively relay information to one another.

We may talk at or to others, but not necessarily with them. At times, this is due to limited staffing experience, being in a rush or thinking people will automatically get what we are trying to say.

Individuals tend to base their communication efforts upon their targeted audience and when speaking to a young child, they may take more time to limit confusion and misinterpretation.

However, when these same individuals hold casual conversations or conduct daily operations, they do not practice the same techniques. Often times, they assume their message is clear and will be understood by all, but a lot of times it is not.

Most people have such busy schedules they only have time to relay a message once, so it's important to relay it right the first time. They can do that by basing their communication efforts upon their targeted audience, to limit confusion and misinterpretation.

Taking the time to relay clear, accurate information alleviates a lot of rework. Below are some pointers for effective communication:

· Relay messages that are clear, concise and accurate
· Focus on the main issue
· Know your audience
· Show respect, be sincere and courteous
· Eliminate distractions (turn off cell phones, adjust lighting/temperature, etc.)
· Listen to others and be objective
· Give and receive feedback

Although there are no sure-fire ways to totally eliminate the misinterpretation of communication, using the above pointers will help you relay clear, concise and accurate information the first time. This can reduce the amount of questions sent back your way and make you a more effective communicator.

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