Everywhere you look these days, we’re bombarded by dismally poor communications. Hell in a handbasket? Not quite. But it does seem that growing legions of people don’t think about how the things they say are going to affect others
Admittedly, most of us forgive and forget the tone and content of these fumbled messages. But that’s no excuse for letting this trend gain traction in your life.
As someone interested in improving your communication skills—and maintaining your reputation—I urge you to be mindful, to strive for clarity and to use a positive tone.
To show you what I mean, here are some scenarios and how you might respond to them.
- Looking for work. Don’t say, “I’m in transition.” Do say, “I’m an expert in [name a specific skill] exploring new opportunities.”
- Addressing a mistake. Don’t say, “You messed up.” Do say, “I need your help to clear up a potential problem.”
- Giving an update. Don’t say, “I just wanted to update you.” Do say, “We are making great progress with the XYZ account.”
- Bridging a communication gap. Don’t say, “I haven’t heard from you in awhile.” Do say, “I trust all is well since we last connected.”
- Starting a relationship. Don’t say, “I know we haven’t met, but ….” Do say, “I just saw a video of an impressive talk you gave.”
Remember: Stick to the golden rule, because you can’t go wrong when you treat a listener or reader with respect.
Before you act . . .
Begin with a goal in mind and use it as a framework for choosing the language and tone of voice you need to achieve it.