Ten Commandments of Effective Communication

Ten Commandments of Effective Communication1

Steve Fallick – January 23, 2013

We’ve all been in a position where we know exactly what we meant when writing a letter or responding to a question or making a statement and found to our disappointment, surprise and amazement that it was not heard and not understood.  If you haven’t experienced this in your life and want proof that it has happened to me, just ask my wonderful wife, Lisa.

Everything we do is communication. Without communication we will not be able to interact in a civilized manner. Without communication we will not be able to create modern societies. Without communication we would not be able to create prosperity for ourselves. Without communication we would not be able to construct organizations necessary for the reproduction of material wealth. Communication is the most important building block of human civilization.

If communication is so important then this implies a certain competency level in the strategies and tactics of communication possessed by all people irrespective of their education, social background, nationality, and common language. This is unfortunately not true because a large number of people do not have the proper communication skills necessary to become successful. Most of them are simply muddling through their daily lives using basic communication skills which are barely enough to keep their heads above the water. What are actually the characteristics of good communicators? Below are some typical characteristics and behaviors which good communicators possess:

  1. Always try to give feedback based on facts and not on opinions and/or emotions which might upset or offend the other person.
  2. Always try to empathize or to see a situation from the other’s point of view. Try to accept the other person’s views without preaching and/or moralizing.
  3. Criticize using neutral language and tone of voice.
  4. Say what you mean without becoming sarcastic.
  5. If you want something from others, ask, don’t command.
  6. Give the other person a chance to speak, don’t slip into ‘railroading’.
  7. Explain why something needs to happen, don’t threaten.
  8. Don’t give advice or opinions if people don’t ask for it.
  9. Be to the point, avoid vagueness at all cost.
  10. Don’t talk down or up to others; avoid diverting the conversation to trivial matters.

Think about it.  Accurate, precise communication is often only attainable after the fact.  Additional techniques and tools to gather feedback such as summarizing and restating helps us assure that the intended message was indeed received.  What do you think?

1This article was written by Martin Hahn Ph.D.  Dr. Hahn is an industrial sociologist with more than 20 years’ experience in teaching, management consulting, and corporate training.  The article originally appeared in in EzineArticles (http://EzineArticles.com/314811).