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What is Effective Communicating?

Effective communication is the ability to convey information to others actively and efficiently. It’s about understanding the emotion and intentions behind the information, not just the transmission of words. It involves listening, non-verbal communication, clarity of speech, engagement, and an understanding of the recipient’s perspective. Effective communication can lead to better team collaboration, more efficient problem-solving, and increased personal and professional success.

Why using the 80/20 Formula for Effective Communicating?

The 80/20 formula, also known as the Pareto Principle, is a rule of thumb that states that 80% of outcomes come from 20% of causes. In terms of effective communication, this principle can be applied to suggest that 80% of your communication success comes from 20% of your efforts. This means focusing on key areas that will yield the most significant results.

Effective Communicating using the 80/20 Formula

Applying the 80/20 formula to effective communication involves identifying and focusing on those aspects that yield the most significant results. Here are some ways you can apply this principle:

1. Listening: Spend 80% of your time listening and only 20% speaking. This allows you to understand your audience’s needs and respond more effectively.

2. Clarity: Focus on delivering clear and concise messages. A small amount (20%) of well-chosen words can communicate a large part (80%) of your message.

3. Non-Verbal Communication: Non-verbal cues make up a significant part of our communication. Pay attention to your body language as it can convey more than your words.

4. Engagement: Engage with your audience during conversations. A small amount of genuine engagement can lead to a large amount of trust and rapport.

Ranking Effective Communication Strategies using the 80/20 Formula

1. Active Listening: This should be at the top as it forms the basis of effective communication. It involves fully focusing on the speaker, avoiding distractions, and responding appropriately.

2. Clarity and Brevity: Clear and concise communication prevents misunderstandings and ensures your message is understood.

3. Non-Verbal Communication: This includes body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. These cues can often convey more than words.

4. Empathy: Understanding and sharing the feelings of others builds trust and facilitates effective communication.

5. Feedback: Providing constructive feedback helps to clarify misunderstandings and ensures everyone is on the same page.

How to apply effective communication?

How to Active Listening?

Active listening involves more than just hearing the words that are being spoken. It requires full concentration, understanding the information being conveyed, and responding appropriately. Here are some steps to improve active listening:

1. Pay Attention: Give the speaker your undivided attention. Avoid distractions and maintain eye contact.

2. Show That You’re Listening: Use body language to show you’re engaged. Nod occasionally, smile and use other facial expressions.

3. Provide Feedback* Reflect on what has been said by paraphrasing. Ask questions to clarify certain points.

4. Defer Judgement: Allow the speaker to finish their point before you start formulating your response.

5. Respond Appropriately: Active listening promotes understanding, which allows for a more accurate response.

How to Deliver Clear and Concise Messages?

Delivering clear and concise messages is crucial in effective communication. Here are some tips:

1. Know Your Message: Be clear about what you want to communicate before you start speaking or writing.

2. Be Direct: Get straight to the point while remaining polite and professional.

3.*Use Simple Language: Avoid jargon or complex language that might confuse your audience.

4. Use Visual Aids: If appropriate, use diagrams, charts or images to help illustrate your point.

5. Revise and Edit: Review your message to ensure it’s as clear and concise as possible.

Examples of Clear and Concise Messages

1. Instead of saying “I was wondering if maybe you might be able to consider possibly doing this task for me?”, say “Could you please do this task for me?”

2. Instead of saying “The reason I am contacting you is because I wanted to discuss the possibility of potentially collaborating on this project”, say “I’m contacting you to discuss collaborating on this project.”

3. Instead of saying “I kind of feel like maybe we should think about changing our approach”, say “I believe we should change our approach.”

4. Instead of saying “It’s sort of like we’re not really getting anywhere with this”, say “We’re not making progress with this.”

5. Instead of saying “I guess I just thought that perhaps we could try doing it this way”, say “Let’s try doing it this way.”

How to Engage in Conversations?

Engaging in conversations is a two-way process that involves both speaking and listening. Here are some ways to engage effectively:

1. Show Interest: Show genuine interest in what the other person is saying.

2. Ask Open-Ended Questions: This encourages further discussion and shows you’re interested in their perspective.

3. Share Relevant Information: Sharing your own experiences or insights can help build a connection.

4. Be Respectful: Respect the other person’s opinions, even if they differ from your own.

5. Be Present: Stay focused on the conversation, rather than thinking about what you’ll say next.

Conclusion and Next Steps

Effective communication is a skill that can be learned and improved upon. By applying the 80/20 formula, you can focus your efforts on the areas that will yield the most significant results. Start by improving your listening skills, ensuring your messages are clear and concise, paying attention to non-verbal cues, engaging with your audience, showing empathy, and providing constructive feedback.

Remember that effective communication is a two-way process. It’s not just about how you convey a message so that it is received and understood by someone in exactly the way you intended. It’s also about how you listen to gain the full meaning of what’s being said and to make the other person feel heard and understood.

As a next step, identify one area from the list above to focus on this week. Practice it in all your interactions, be mindful of your progress, and adjust as necessary. Over time, these small improvements will add up to significant changes in your communication skills.