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6 Tips for sending clear messages

Sometimes we try to be too nice by not being direct in what we say. We worry more about not hurting others feelings than getting our message across clearly. Now, we do not need to be aggressive or nasty but we should be truthful. Here are 6 ways we can improve:
Do not ask questions when you need to make a statement
Sometimes we ask leading questions which hint at the message we are trying to send. “Do you think you should be doing that?” It can fail to express what we really think or need.

Congruent tone, body language & content
Saying thanks to someone while looking away and using a 'I don't care' tone sends conflicting messages. When things do not match up people can confuse what the actual message is.

Avoid double messages or meanings
So no giving and taking away at the same time. "I suppose you can come but I don't think you will enjoy it." Which is it? Yes it would be great for you to be there or no don't bother because…

Clear wants & feelings
"I see you were hanging around with that group again!" Is there more going on here than what was stated in this observation? Most likely and it would depend on the tone it is delivered. It is better to come out and say you are worried about them being with that group. Or that you want them not to associate with them rather than hinting at it.

Separate observations and thoughts
You can talk about what you see and hear - observations. Or what your beliefs, judgements and opinions are - thoughts. Like in the previous example - hanging around the group - you might be trying to communicate a belief or opinion about that group. So say your opinion and then move on to the want or feeling relating to that opinion.

Focus on one thing at a time
Stick to the topic and do not confuse things by adding irrelevant or too much information. Complaining about someone not being on time and then bring up another issue is distracting. It makes people feel attacked and have to change to many things at once. Work out the being on time issue before moving on to other issues.

Getting your point across assertively and effectively means using the right type of message for the job. There is still lots or room for using compassion and empathy as you do it.

(Reference: Messages: The Communication Skills Book written by McKay, Davis & Fanning ISBN 0934986053)
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