A guide to good communication

Communication is a word that can be used to describe any interaction with others; casual conversation, persuading, teaching, and negotiating. It is a dynamic process that requires the involvement of at least two people.

Communication is much more than just the words that we say. Even saying nothing at all is a method of communicating.

Research shows then when talking to others:

  • 55% of the impact is determined by your body language that is posture, gestures and eye contact.
  • 38% by your tone, pitch and volume of your voice.
  • 7% by the actual words spoken.

Clearly, these percentages may change in certain circumstances. However, it would appear that when getting your message across, it is not only what you say but how you say it that makes the difference.

When communicating with others, be aware of your body language, your hand and feet gestures, the tone, pitch, rhythm and volume of your voice as well as the words you choose.

How to achieve what you want to achieve

Know your outcome

Whether you are communicating with one person or with a group, you are more likely to be effective if you know in advance what you are seeking to achieve. It helps if you make your outcome positive and specific.

Open up your senses

The only way that you can know whether you have conveyed your message successfully is to be aware of how it has been received by the other person. Their internal thinking and feelings will show in their external behaviour. To understand how people respond, notice their body position, breathing, skin colour, eye movements, hand and feet gestures, facial expressions and changes to the tone and quality of their voice.

Be flexible

To be an effective communicator, always act on the principle that the meaning of your communication is the response that you get.

Communication is a loop. What you do influences the other person and what they do influences you. If, in observing their response you find that you have conveyed a different message than you had intended, take that as useful feedback and change the way that you communicate until you get the response that you want.