Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tuesday Tip: Communicating with Success

Being an effective communicator is such an important skill in business. A former manager of mine, who was very influential in my career life, shared a model of communication feedback years ago. This model has a 4-pronged approach. I'm sharing it with you now so that you may add it to your resources for effective communication.

4-pronged model:
  1. Explain your observations to the other person.
  2. Describe what you felt or thought.
  3. Own your feelings / thoughts and take the other person "off the hook".
  4. Ask for feedback from the other person.
Here's an example:
  1. In yesterday's meeting,  you expressed dissatisfaction with the project outcomes and raised your voice when doing so.
  2. I thought that we had met all of the specifications and felt surprised, unprepared and uncomfortable with this part of the presentation.
  3. You probably didn't know that it was the first time our team was hearing this information. Therefore, you most likely didn't know that I felt surprised and unprepared.
  4. Would you let me know your thoughts? Thanks. 
From here, you continue an objective dialogue.   

There are some additional key points to keep in mind. Taking time to prepare for a feedback conversation is important. I often prepare and then run it by a trusted colleague before scheduling the feedback meeting.  When communicating, the message (what I say) may not be received exactly the way I intended. Therefore, I recommend checking in along the way to insure that the message is clearly understood. I try to ask clarifying questions like "Would you be more specific?". And, practicing active listening (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Active_listening), a tool often used in conflict resolution, is very helpful. Giving and receiving effective feedback takes a lot of practice. With time, it does become more comfortable and you find that you have positive outcomes. 

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Further resources for Active Listening:

Have a great week~

Marianne   408-295-6656 

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