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The secret known by all successful communicators

How many times have you heard yourself saying any of the following?

  • That’s not what I meant
  • You weren’t listening
  • That’s not what I said
  • You didn’t understand me
  • I thought you meant…

If you are like most people then you probably have to use some of these statements more than you would like. All too often our communications let us down. We may be using the same words as everyone else but sometimes it’s like we are speaking a different language!

Photo credit- Marketing Works
Photo credit- Marketing Works


Well guess what?  A lot of the time we are!

People have different preferences for how they communicate, for example some people prefer using Visual language, whereas others use Auditory or Kinaesthetic language. These channels are just one of the barriers to effective communications. Others include:

  • Not listening correctly
  • Making assumptions
  • Not providing/seeking clarity
  • Ignoring non-verbal communications
  • Lacking influence and/or assertion

This is not an exhaustive list but these five make up most of the everyday barriers in communications. You may be surprised to learn that there are several different listening modes, and guess what we typically choose the wrong one most of the time! Over 67% of people have a default style of ‘evaluative listening’. Evaluative listening is where you are looking for a specific answer or evidence to agree/disagree with the information you are hearing, and guess what, as soon as you make that judgement (I agree or I disagree) then you stop listening! You are actually now just waiting for the other person to stop talking so you can speak. Most people don’t even wait, they just cut across the other person to get their point in. Wouldn’t it be great also if there was a quick way to know if the other person is actually listening to you or not. Well there is, with one quick technique you can visually tell when someone is in evaluative listening mode. Just imagine the power of knowing this.

And listening is just one small area of communications. What about giving effective feedback, you know feedback that actually changes behaviour. Imagine the power of being able to ‘think on your feet’ and provide communications with clarity, brevity and impact instead of saying afterwards ‘Agh, what I should have said was…’

Just imagine the results you could achieve if you could influence more people and/or be more assertive is certain situations. Communications is the foundation upon which great results are built.

So what to do? Well, the most successful communicators know the secret, and that is:

“YOU own your own communications” and the effectiveness is measured by the results you get.

No longer can you use the excuse ‘you did not listen’, or ‘you did not understand’. No, successful communicators KNOW it is their responsibility to ensure the other person IS listening and they DO understand.  It may sound harsh but the sooner you accept this the sooner you will start to improve your communications.

The good news is that there are a range of proven techniques that will help you master effective communications. The IMI have developed a three-day programme to introduce a world class toolkit for communications and provide you with the opportunity to practice and perfect these techniques to improve your results through communications.

The programme will help you ‘avoid’ the common traps of communications and provide structured techniques to maximise your communication skills. The first day provide a foundation in effective communications including listening skills, effective feedback, identifying and challenging assumptions and seeking/providing clarity. These foundational skills are then built upon on day two through the science of influencing, non-verbal communications (body language and micro expressions) and the internationally renowned ‘Think on Your Feet®’ model of communications to achieve Clarity Brevity and Impact®. Finally on day three these tools and techniques are applied to real life work situations where participants learn how to be more assertive and deal with difficult situations and difficult people.

If want to achieve better results through your communications, the IMI are running a 3 day programme on Communicating for Performance on the 8th, 9th and 10th of September 2014.  

Talk to our programme advisors today on programmeadvisors@imi.ie or 1800 22 33 88.

Derek Fox is an expert in management development, innovation and interpersonal communications. Derek has published a number of books including his bestselling titles in both Psychology (DISCovering your style and dealing with difficult people) and Presentation skills (Presenting without fear).  He contributes to journals and business publications such as: T&D Magazine, HR Ireland, People Management, and has published articles with the Sunday Business Post, and the Sunday Times.


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