Join Todd Dewett for an in-depth discussion in this video Communicating proactively, part of New Manager Fundamentals.
Effective communication is proactive. To be proactive refers to ways you can help your audience hear you and make sure you hear them. Yes, what you actually say to someone matters a lot, but what you say is only one variable that determines how effective your message will be. Stated differently, it's not always what you say, but when you say it and how you say it. Let's consider several different tactics to help you communicate proactively. First, let's think about timing. Everyday, professionals are pressed up against deadlines and a seemingly never ending list of tasks to be completed.
Combine that with our level of efficiency and we often communicate too little with others. What I want you to remember is that Benjamin Franklin was correct, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Being proactive, matters. So let's break it down. What does being a proactive communicator mean? When you're speaking with someone, look for important nonverbal cues. Be careful to watch the eyes and the forehead for any signs of confusion or disagreement. When you see them, finish your point, pause, and ask them if they're still with you.
Now, if the look of confusion was strong, don't accept a simple yes but ask them to summarize or reiterate your main point so you can both be sure you're on the same page. Another great proactive tactic is to ask questions. This works equally well one-on- one or in small group settings. You can't assume that everyone clearly understands you. Once or twice while speaking, ask the person or team members if they have any questions. Try it again when you finish making your last point. By asking for questions, you'll build enough comfort in the interaction to encourage people to speak up on their own.
One important aspect of being proactive is asking people to clarify. When you're not following what the speaker is saying or you sense the group isn't following along either, speak up. Don't interrupt, but don't miss your chance to speak up at the right time. Remember, an ounce of prevention will save you a lot of headaches later. The last aspect of being proactive involves predicting challenges before they arise. I know you're busy, but there's a small number of conversations you have everyday that are so important, you should prepare for them.
Before entering a one-on-one conversation or a meeting, try to identify the one or two issues that are hot button issues. Issues others will wish to debate or will feel are difficult or challenging. Never let them surprise you. Be ready to address those most difficult aspects if you wish to address the topic at all. That is proactive. Finally, let's briefly consider the role of Candor versus Civility. Civility means to be nice, positive, and congenial. Candor refers to straightforward, candid, and sometimes blunt conversation.
Both are important aspects of interpersonal communication. Civility is vital, but candor is even more important. Too much civility is often used in order to avoid hurting others' feelings. What is even more important is complete clarity about the topic at hand and everyone's perspective about that topic. That's candor. Give everyone the best chance possible to understand you. When you communicate with others, remember, use the techniques we've just discussed and be proactive.
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- Clarifying performance expectations
- Feeding your learning curve
- Building rapport with your team
- Explaining your decision-making style
- Increasing your authenticity
- Communicating proactively
- Knowing when to have a meeting and who should attend
- Coping successfully with your transition<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.