Are You Communicating Effectively?


Are You Communicating Effectively?

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” — George Bernard Shaw

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM


Success in every area of life is dependent on our ability to communicate effectively. Communication is a means of connecting with others to convey information, suggest ideas, share thoughts, and express feelings. We often feel that we have communicated our message effectively only to find that the receiver has a completely different understanding.

        Are You Communicating Effectively?

Communication is intended to be a two-way process meant to result in a mutual understanding by all parties involved. A mutual understanding does not require consensus, but it does require that everyone has comprehended the message in the same way. Many factors contribute to the understanding that is derived from communication. Here are a few you may want to consider when you ask yourself if you are communicating effectively.

                Your message

Who is the audience your message is meant to reach is one of the first questions you need to ask yourself. It is important for each individual to feel like you are speaking directly to them. This may require different approaches for different audiences, even if you are sharing the same message. Use relevant, inspirational, and simple stories to illustrate the important points you are trying to make. Explain why your message is important. Verify that everyone has the same understanding of what was discussed, conclusions reached, and what is expected going forward. Be patient, if you want people to internalize your message, they must hear it multiple times.

Employees want to know where the organization is going, what it will look like when they get there, what difference are they making, why is it important to you, and why should they help you. Communicate objectives and expectations clearly. And, always be truthful.

                       Words and actions

Make sure that what you say and what you do are congruent. Others will only follow what you say if they see it is important to you by your actions. Say what you are going to do and then do it. Communicate authentically. Be fair, open, and supportive in your dialogues with others. And, most importantly, make it clear by both words and actions that you are available to discuss any concerns others may have. Remember, communication is a two-way street.

                        Connecting with others

Communication is all about connecting with others. Take a walk around the office and engage in conversations with those you work with. Make sure your message is designed to fit the recipient. Communicate at every level of the organization. Share a view of the bigger picture. Talk about the goals of the organization and ask about personal goals. Engage employees in conversations by asking questions and really listening to what they have to say. Let them be involved in formulating solutions to problems. Make sure that acknowledgement of the vital role that each one plays in the success of the organization is included in your communication.


The first rule of communication is making sure you are listening as much as you are talking. Employees want to be kept in the loop. Share with them where the organization is and where it is going. Connect with employees on a personal level. And, if you want them to believe what you say, ensure that your words match your actions.

© 2014 Elizabeth Stincelli