How do you share difficult information or confront conflict? Which delivery system do you rely on and how well is the message received? Often people need to share important feelings and information, but their delivery is aggressive, condescending or belittling. They may be completely unaware of the impact that their delivery style has on others, or in some cases, they don’t care about the effect as long as they make their point. Communication is incredibly important and can have major repercussions or create misunderstandings if the message is poorly expressed. Many highly intelligent people have not mastered the art of communication and don’t realize the negative impact that they have on others.
In many cases we learn how to communicate from our parents, teachers, mentors, and peers, often adopting an approach that we deemed effective and/or easy. The reality is that we may have only observed the delivery, but didn’t witness the consequences. For example, we may have observed a person yelling or bullying someone to get their way and it seemed to work, but didn’t see the fallout and alienation that followed. If the delivery is perceived as very negative, it may override the message and the person may tune out the point you were trying to make. The art of the delivery often determines the power of the message, not the message itself. So how can you work on your delivery?
For starters, be aware of your non-verbal communication, especially your tone of voice. Communicate the message directly and assertively while being respectful and sensitive to the person receiving it. It may be helpful to script out the message and have a game plan before delivering it to the person. With today’s technology many prefer to send a text or email over a phone call or face-to-face, but the former is too impersonal and possibly inappropriate. Be sure to make the message clear and simple so that understanding it is easy along with allowing for clarification, if necessary. Lastly communicate with empathy and compassion so that the other person realizes you value them more than the message. People respond better when we validate their feelings and value their feedback. The golden rule still applies: treat others the way you want to be treated. When we focus more on the relationship and less on the outcome, others accept and respect our message.