How to communicate so that people listen, understand & implement

by Jo Ann Sweeney - 09:00 on 05 January 2016

People often don’t listen, understand or implement actions from our communication until they first understand WHY they should listen and what’s in it for them if they do.

How do you judge the effectiveness of your communication? Most people who manage others or are responsible for team projects will judge their communication by the effect it has on the intended target.

Did the person act on the communication? Do they exhibit the behaviours/ attitudes that you communicated were important?

To become a more effective manager and to have others become engaged in a way that creates better results you need to understand how to make your communications relevant to the target audience.

What is your outcome?

Don’t communicate to others unless you know the outcome you want to get. The more specific and behaviour focused the outcome, the easier it is to track the effect of your communication.


 I want Tom to up his game and give 110% in meetings

The vague language makes it difficult to track. What does ‘up his game’ really mean? What does ‘110% look’ like in your book?

A more useful outcome would be…

I want Tom to speak more often, challenge others viewpoints gently but firmly and prepare a list of ideas and topics before each meeting.

Easy to track and to help coach Tom to achieve if necessary.

What does this individual/ group need to hear in order for this outcome to be achieved?

Knowing your outcome is vital and so is knowing your audience and specifically how they need to hear information in order to comprehend the meaning.

This will help you understand what is relevant to communicate and to hone your message.

Some people need the big picture first, followed by the details while others need the small details to build up to a big picture. Some people will need multiple examples or metaphors while others will need only the facts.

A final, useful question is…

How can I make this information important, interesting or valuable to them?

Don’t just assume that the person will listen to you, let alone act on what you say. Make sure that before you even broach the important subject that you have their full attention and ‘buy-in’ to what you’re about to say.

You can achieve this by putting a headline to your communication to grab their attention just like newspapers have headlines that get people to read the stories.

Some examples might be…

When I was in your shoes this is the one piece of information that made my job easier and much more rewarding…
If you could X, how much would it improve Y? Great, let me share some thoughts on how to do that…
If you do just one thing this year then it would benefit you to…

Do you see how these kind of statement grab your attention before any real communication has been made?

Do you want to take your communication and leadership skills to the next level? Why not join me and a host of inspiring speakers in March at the Evolved Employer Conference in Central London? For information and tickets click here

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