Need a communication plan?

by Betty Lochner on October 4, 2010

Have you ever felt like you need a road map to communicate with others?

Sometimes just having a plan can make a huge difference in how well you communicate. So, before you open your mouth, read on.

Here are 4 small steps that, if you practice them, will help you become a better communicator.

1. Observe

Pay close attention to you own body language and the body language of who you are talking with – it is our primary means of communication!  Think about how you are coming across.  Keep you body position open and at eye level.

2. Listen

This takes some practice – we all like to talk more than we listen. Don’t concentrate on what you want to say, concentrate on observing what is being said and listening.

Don’t be distracted by anything. Just really listen. Don’t answer the phone, text, or fiddle with anything; just concentrate on being a listener – not a talker!  So, for heaven’s sake don’t interrupt!

Ironically, as your listening skills improve, so will your aptitude for conversation. A friend of mine once complimented me on my conversational skills. I hadn’t said more than four words, but I had listened to her for over 20 minutes.

3. Connect

Maintain eye contact, to the degree that you both remain comfortable. Show interest and concern when appropriate and ask for clarification if needed.  Ask questions and paraphrase to make sure you understand. Pay close attention to what is being said and asked of you and get ready to follow-up.

4. Follow-up

Always thank the person for sharing with you before you respond. Now you are rewarded for your patience and you can say what you need to say in a kind and respectful way.

Take your time. Remain focused on responding to the issues addressed and not the person. And, always follow through on everything you’ve promised to do.

Having a plan is sometimes all you need to improve your communication! Now, go out there and consciously follow these 4 steps and watch what happens!


Betty Lochner is the Owner and President of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She specializes in personal and organizational transformation and is the author of  Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transforming your life at work and at home.

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