Developing a Personal Communication Strategy
How we communicate with others undoubtedly has a dramatic, profound and sometimes everlasting effect on how we are perceived as a person generally and certainly determines what kind of reaction we are likely to elicit from those around us in the moment.
This was demonstrated to me clearly recently at a client meeting in which several people attended and it was fascinating to see the interaction between the participants. It seemed we had every flavour of personal characteristic in attendance from the supremely confident/arrogant to the shrinking violet and the uber negative type. Each of them displayed a variety of communication methods and channels and on several occasions failing miserably in getting their message across.
This led me to ponder how I might instruct and inductee on how to develop their own personal communication strategy, which can be employed in all undertakings with those around them and could be used both personally and professionally.
The process of communication can be represented by this six-step model:
Step 1 - Identify your objectives
Step 2 - Identify the recipients
Step 3 - Choose the method of communication
Step 4 - Match the message to the recipient
Step 5 - Get feedback
Step 6 - Respond to feedback
Simple you might say… except when communication fails, it is often because one or more parts of the process have been omitted. The model above is indeed a simple tool, both for planning communication and for diagnosing the cause of failure if it does occur. This may be a straightforward model but in practice barriers to communication can occur at any or all of the steps.
Let’s have a look at what each step means:
Step 1 – Identify your Objectives
Ask yourself the following types of questions:
Step 2 – Identify the Recipients
Who needs to know what you are communicating? In organisations is it important to be alert to:
Step 3 – Choose the Method / Channel of Communication
The method or channel must be suitable for the purpose. For example, you may be old enough to recall that the Governments early attempts to influence the sexual behaviour of young people through TV adverts about HIV/AIDS in the 1980s was severely criticised.
Critics pointed out that the policy/strategy was poorly thought out stating that TV advertising was not the most effective channel of communication as the age group being targeted (16-25’s) actually watches TV far less frequently than any others in the population. Those who watch TV the most (over 55’s) were also likely to be the ones least likely to be exposed to the HIV/AIDs virus.
Sometimes the problem may not be that the channel is wrong, but that there is no obvious channel. If TV advertising was not the right way to reach people to influence them about their sexual behaviour, then what was?
Step 4 – Match the Message to the Recipient
Many attempts at communications fail at this stage. Essentially, you can only communicate well when:
An accurate profile means that you have all the information you need on:
The basic rule is to: KEEP IT SHORT AND SIMPLE
Step 5 – Get Feedback
True communication involves a complete loop between sender and recipient.
The sender send out the message; the recipient receives and (usually) gives a response or feedback. Your communication may be skilfully adapted to the needs of the recipient but if you haven’t made provisions for feedback it could still fail.
Equally, if you are the receiver and have no chance to give feedback, the person communicating with you is unlikely to be successful.
Step 6 – Respond to Feedback
The final part of the communication chain is about taking account of the feedback you receive.
For example, when you give someone in your team a performance appraisal, it is wise to ask for their feedback on how you manage them and your style and perhaps you may consider a change to some of your behaviour as a result.
At Maguire Training we have many different courses that can help you develop your personal interactions with others and establish a powerful communication style. Havea look at these examples or call us on 0333 5777 144 for more information.