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  • Writer's pictureAwatif Yahya

Delivering Effective Communications

There are three components to any communication: words make up 7%; tonality and volume make up 38% and the rest of it, 55%, is body language. Even when our bodies are standing still, they are contributing to the communication. For a communication to be effective, it needs a framework, good listening skills, emotion management and a safe environment.

A communication framework sets the standard and guides the flow. It consists of a planned-out script to set the scene and introduce the objective for the communication; a main section for the core message with all relevant details and an end to wrap-up a communication and lay out expectations. The framework should have a predetermined channel for delivery and a schedule mapping dates and times most suitable for the type of communication.

Listening is an essential part in delivering effective communications. Both the communicator and the recipient need to listen carefully to what is being communicated and responses from the communication. This means listening with curiosity, listening for possibilities and listening with empathy. Listening allows recipients to ask for clarifications on vague messages. Listening aids the communicator in repeating important information. Listening also validates previously made assumptions and provides an opportunity to correct wrong information. In essence, true listening guarantees the communication is understood and ensures alignment.

Emotion management is important in effective communications. Communications can generate various emotions, some more than others. These emotions can be vocally expressive or silently endured through body language. Vocally expressed emotions are quicker to detect and thus handle. Non-vocal emotions are more challenging to detect; however, they often give away physical signs. Stomach turning/growling, watery eyes, dry mouth, tense muscles, crossed arms, eye rolling, heavy breathing, hyperventilating and excessive sweating are signs of discomfort. While leaning-in, smiling, laughter, or sometimes raised eyebrows indicate excitement.

Good communicators recognize their own emotional triggers and triggers of those they are conversing with. They are skillful in naming the emotion so they can better manage it. Anger, fear, pain, anxiety, confusion are all emotions that require different tactics to dissolve.  

Finally, having a safe environment would tremendously benefit communication delivery. Everyone needs to feel safe to question a critical communication, especially those most vulnerable. A safe environment means people are not retaliated against for responding to a communication. A safe environment ensures there is turn-taking in speaking out and no one voice (or group of voices) hijack the conversation. It allows space for everyone who wishes to raise concerns to do so with protection.

Being an effective communicator is a great leadership skill. A good leader knows how to build a solid communication framework that guarantees understanding and builds rapport. They master true listening skills and manage emotions generated from a communication. Most importantly, good leaders create a safe environment that sets the foundation for open and effective two-way communication.

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