5 Effective ways to communicate better without saying a word.

I‘ve got to tell you I really get worked up when someone sends me an e-mail with a subject line that isn’t relevant to the message. So, much so it drove me to write an article about it!

How many times a day do we get email strings 7-8 responses long and by the time you get in the conversation the title has nothing to do with what’s being discussed?

How messed up is it to go back and try to retrieve old emails with the same subject line repeated a dozen times?

What are we mind readers!?

I’m sure I’m not alone in my frustration, it doesn’t take but two seconds to update the subject line to communicate what the heck you are talking about. In the long run it is worth the extra few milliseconds to let a group or person know what to expect and it’s just good “table manners”. Kind of like taking your dishes to the kitchen after dinner and not leaving them for someone else to clean up after you!

Webster’s Dictionary defines communication as – the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs.

There are 5 easy ways to enhance your communication acumen.

1. Attention to Email – update the subject line whenever it needs reframing to address the audience with a short concise description, you will lessen the chances of being misunderstood not to mention SAVE YOURSELF A BUNCH OF TIME when you need to track it down weeks or months later, and the chances are high that you will.

2. Body Language – nonverbal, usually unconscious, communication through the use of postures, gestures, facial expressions, is noticed by people when they interact with you. This body language says volumes about you. Use the opportunity to proactively communicate and to reinforce your passion and energy. Show confidence in your ability as a leader. People don’t respond well to uncertainty or nonchalant enthusiasm so don’t give them a false positive (the wrong message) because of your body language.

3. Dress for Success – as with the other ways to enhance communication the way you dress and groom yourself says a lot about what your values are. In a business environment you are often being compared to the last person in the room. Was it a well-dressed top performer you compete with or your boss or manager in a suit and tie? If you want to stand above the crowd or build better rapport then think about how you present yourself. Whether you like it or not they will be judging you by how you look. Remember It’s not about you it’s about how you are perceived!

4. Self-Awareness – is having conscious; cognizant knowledge about yourself. This is a BIGGE and one that we all think we do a good job of. NOT!! Especially in today’s culture of “participation awards” we have been taught that we are special and we can do no wrong and so on and so forth. This has its place in building self-confidence but does little to build self-awareness. It takes a bit of swallowing your ego and thinking about others first to master the art of self-awareness. When you’re “looking in the mirror” at yourself (as you go through your day) you won’t believe what a game changer it is and the results you will gain by focusing on others from this point of view.

5. Effective Listening – to give attention closely for the purpose of understanding which is demonstrated by comprehension, intelligence, discernment, empathy, or the like. In my opinion being a good listener is one of the toughest things to do and the MOST IMPORTANT. It takes real work to pause and actively be engaged because it’s not just hearing with your ears its eliciting ALL OF YOUR COMMUNICATION skills. When someone is described as a good listener, don’t you instantly get a picture of a person with good leadership qualities, maybe someone you want to be like?

I know we’ve all heard these suggestions before and it sounds like old “buzz” word stuff being regurgitated from outdated schools of thought but the truth is this lesson is valid even in today’s NexGen/New Millennial society of faster, faster, faster, me, me, me.
All of us need to remind ourselves to slow down and think about what we’re trying to communicate and how we say things (especially non-verbally) and the effect our messages have on others perceived real or otherwise.

One of my favorite quotes comes from Confucius (or the like) who said

“It’s better to be thought a fool then to speak out and remove all doubt”

…Something to think about.