We all want to be effective communicators. One of the major challenges to being an effective communicator is that we all have inbuilt preferences about what we would like to hear and that tempers what we choose to include and exclude in our communications with others. These preferences often minimise the impact and success of our communications whether we are in management, HR or training.
One easy way of extending the reach and effectiveness of our communications is to seek to cover four bases in our messages and how they are constructed. Based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, these bases are:
- Relevant facts;
- Impacts on people;
- and, logical options.
Everyone has a preference for one of these bases. You’ll lose a lot of people without providing relevant facts, others will be confused because they can’t see what you are saying in terms of what it means for people. An absence of something about beliefs and values will alienate another group and if, logical options are missing, that will switch off the final group.
It’s quite easy to spot someone’s inbuilt preferences by what they tend to emphasise in their communications with others. Clearly, this changes as people become aware of their choices.
Being aware of one’s own preferences helps guard against one-sided communications.
So if relevant facts are your thing, you need to be aware that 64% of the population is switched off by an over reliance on facts.
If you are a people impact person, you need to be aware that only 40% of your audience is particularly tuned into the likely impact on people of what you are communicating.
If beliefs and values are your thing, you need to recognise that only 14% of other people share your passion for ideals and visions.
And, finally, if you are a logical options and possibilities kind of person, only one in ten cares as much as you do about being logical.
Balancing your communicating styles between the four bases minimises the risk that your communication misses the mark.
So the next time you’re writing an email for general consumption, preparing a presentation or just talking one to one with someone, try to cover off all the bases in what you communicate. Your communications will be all the more effective if you do.