Can you pass the clarity test?
Because communication skills are so vital to workplace success, you should focus on improving clarity whenever you speak and write. Follow these tips:
- Start by organizing your thoughts. Before you open your mouth or write the first word, you should have a pretty good idea what you want to communicate. That does not mean you will always have all the answers; a clear question is an excellent communication tool. If you need time to formulate your thoughts, admit it to yourself or your listeners. Pausing momentarily to let your ideas coalesce is far better than making a thoughtless statement that muddies the waters.
- Determine your objectives. Define your communication goal in your own mind; then you can clearly convey it to others. Ask yourself “What do I want others to think, say, understand or do after we finish speaking or they finish reading what I wrote?” Summarize your communication objective in as few words as possible—fewer than 10 is ideal.
- Eliminate ambiguity and assumptions. Vague phrases like “as soon as possible” or “the best way” create confusion. Clear it up by using specific language instead: “by noon Tuesday” or “without spending more than $100.” Don’t assume that others will understand your meaning, either. You may think “Everyone knows …,” but until you use specific language and verify understanding, you cannot be sure that the message others received is the one you meant to deliver.
— From the editors.
Share on Facebook
Back to Previous Page