Three Tips for Communicating Effectively

In order for there to be any effective endeavor between people there must be an ability to communicate effectively. In other words, each person must be able to transmit their ideas to the other person and the one receiving them must be able to decode and translate the message into something that they can understand. That is the essence of communication and if you are going to be successful at it, there are three things that you should remember.

Know your Audience

You should get familiar with the receiver of your communication. What matters to them? How do they prefer to receive information? In writing, verbal, both? Do they like to have the details presented first and then the summary or is it the other way around with the big picture overview presented first? Are they the kind of person who likes to ask questions to clarify things or to challenge and test you? Knowing these things ahead of time helps you to be adequately prepared for the encounter with the other person. It allows you to decide how you will share your message and it also lets you be prepared to receive feedback, both verbal and non-verbal, from your audience.

Know why you are communicating

If you know what your intended outcome will be then you will be better able to design your communication to achieve what is required. Are you communicating just to pass on information? Is it being done to build a following who is emotionally engaged with the content? Or is it to persuade someone who is responsible for making a decision on an issue? Knowing this allows you to decide the structure of your communication, the amount of detail, the breadth of information to include, the level of urgency that you may need to convey and even the tone of voice you will need to use.

Know Yourself

To be effective as a presenter or any other kind of communicator you need to know yourself. You should be aware of how you use your voice and your body when you are communicating with others. You will also need to develop an understanding of what it takes for you to be most successful. Are you the kind of person who works best with notes and cue cards when presenting? Do you prefer to have only one on one meetings? Would you choose written over verbal communication or small group over large groups? Knowing these things, allow you to better understand your comfort zone. As a result, when you are asked to operate outside of what feels most comfortable to you and still be effective in your delivery it means that you will need to take deliberate action. It is also important to note that everyone gets nervous. Therefore, do not let that derail you. Prepare and practice. Use the tools that will help you to be effective. Relax and breathe.



Marjorie Wharton is a trainer, facilitator and coach who works with individuals and organizations to help them improve their performance. She is based at the Sagicor Cave Hill School of Business in Barbados. For more of her writing visit