Ever have days when you think you must be talking to yourself because no one else seems to be listening? Whether it’s your child, boss or client, do you think your message is having a hard time getting through? Lawyers are supposed to be great communicators, but that’s not always the case.
If there’s a gap between you and the other party what can you do to close it?
There are signs you should watch for to see if your messages are being received, according to an article in Fast Company.
- If you’re not getting the results or response you want, look at how and what you’re communicating,
- Are people avoiding you? Are people asking you questions only when it’s necessary, not seeking you out to discuss matters?
- Are you listening to others? Can you remember what another person said or state what their point of view is? If not, listening could be your problem, and it’s essential for excellent
- Did you just have a bad day or meeting or is this an ongoing problem? If there’s a pattern of communication problems, it’s something you need to deal with.
If the answers point to communication problems, here are some suggestions,
- Take an honest look at how you communicate. Are you thorough, clear and factual? Are you consistent? Do you involve others and get different perspectives? How well do you handle important matters that may be emotionally charged?
- Ask open-ended questions to encourage dialogue instead of lecturing or instructing others.
- Are your expectations of your listeners clear and do you understand what others expect of you? Your audience needs to know what you want from them so if there’s any doubt, tell them. Don’t assume they know how to respond.
- Do you use jargon or hard to understand language? If so you’ll lose and confuse your audience. They may not want to appear dumb or harsh to you by asking you to explain or clarify your statements. When you wrap up what you’re saying you could ask for questions to make sure there’s no confusion and your audience understands your message.
- Listen better. After a meeting take notes of what others said to you. If you can’t, or you can’t do it very well, you need to listen better.
- Do you have compassion, empathy, and understanding when talking to others, especially during difficult conversations? Do those you’re talking to feel comfortable being open and transparent without fear of repercussions? If not you need to change.
Communication is a skill. You need practice to do it well, and if things aren’t going well, you need to change your approach. Those you’re talking to may have their own problems, which doesn’t help. They may be distracted by personal or family issues, other work assignments or they may simply be tired. You can’t expect those you talk to be sharp as a tack every day so think about how well your message is getting through and ways to improve your approach.