what does effective communication look likeAlmost every job description for a manager includes effective communicator or effective communication as part of the requirements. The problem with this is that if you poll what people define as “effective communication,” you will get a lot of different definitions. This is where the problem begins: like every other aspect of the importance of clearly defining the requirements of a job, you must define what effective communication means. One of the best definitions I have come across is this:

Effective communication is the art of understanding and being understood.

In any interaction, there are two parties: the sender and the receiver. Whenever we communicate with someone, we are looking for a result. This may include just being heard and/or having that receiver take an action.

Missed our video on the subject? Watch it here.

The Science

How each individual determines what is effective communication begins with how they are hardwired to communicate, and that originates within your synaptic connections that lie between your neurons. If you are a hardwired introvert, then your natural communication style tends to be more serious, direct and factual. On the other hand, if you’re a hardwired extrovert, then your natural communication style tends to be more friendly, persuasive and gregarious.

Here is the important part: whichever way you are hardwired is how you will determine what is considered normal, effective and therefore, the right way of communicating, and this typically results in believing that anyone who does it the opposite is doing it wrong!

Our definitions of effective communication incorporate how we were raised to communicate, our values, experiences and more. The human brain was built to work on auto pilot, so if you are not consciously making an effort to adjust your natural communication style, then you will always default to your hardwired approach.

The Logic

Since the above is a scientific fact regarding how each of us defines “effective communication,” we all want to be effective in our communication, and we can only really exercise control over what we say, then we must deliver our message in a manner that is considered ‘normal’ for the receiver.

The Solution

  1. Learn your natural communication style.
  2. Learn the natural communication style of your co-workers (or anyone who you communicate with on a regular basis).
  3. Lose your judgments around what’s normal and right and begin to appreciate the differences and that they can both work effectively.
  4. Slightly adjust your communication style to accommodate their’s when you communicate with them.

By understanding and applying this methodology, you will be amazed at how much more effective your communication becomes and as a result, you will achieve greater results.