Two irrefutable truths about effective communication:
- Effective communication involves both speaking and listening, preferably equably between two parties.
- When it’s your turn to speak, it’s also your responsibility to ensure that the message is heard and received by the other person.
Let’s look at #2 more closely. Despite the fact that it happens often, ensuring that the message is heard and received by someone else does NOT involve speaking louder and faster! Instead, it’s about setting the stage so that your listener is willing to hear what you have to say, and to be open-minded enough to consider your point of view. In previous blog posts, I’ve written about not making people defensive and focusing on what you want rather than what you don’t want, both approaches to increase the likelihood that the other person will hear and act on what you have to say.
Another tactic to improve another person’s listening ability is to prepare him/her – give him/her notice about what’s coming up – by using the phrase “Let me tell you why that is important.” This is akin to putting a flashing light in the middle of a conversation. Perhaps the person you are speaking to has drifted away and isn’t listening carefully. By using this phrase, you are letting him/her know that they need to check back in and pay attention.
Now, as in everything, overuse can lead to reduced success. So use this phrase thoughtfully and prudently. But don’t let’s its simplicity cause you to underestimate its value!
So … what do you think? Do you use other phrases that have the same outcome? Would love to hear your perspectives.