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Guide to Effective Communication

Overview

Communication is critical to the success of any enterprise. Like the circulatory system of our bodies, it’s the connection between all the different parts of an organization. It is the link between leaders and constituents, supervisors and employees, and employees and customers.  Communication goes on all around us….we grew up communicating, so why is a lack of communication or poor communication a common lament of employees?

Most of us think of ourselves as good communicators. If there is a problem, it’s the problem of the person on the other end of the conversation, not us. However, most of the time we don’t even think about the difficulties in communication. We just presume everything we say (write, email, tweet, …) is understood just the way we intended. Also, we tend to think that we’ve perfectly understood what we’ve been told or have read.

You might think that something so ordinary shouldn’t be so difficult, but it is, and it is important that we accept it as such. This is critical in becoming an effective communicator—being aware of how complex the process is.  Recognizing this complexity alone can make a huge difference in achieving understanding, which is the goal of interpersonal communication.

The good news is effective communication is a skill, and skills can be learned and improved upon.  Many training courses provide communication skills – from basic communication, to technical communication, to motivational communication, to briefing, to presentation. The Guide to Effective Communication brochure, created by the NPS in partnership with the Eppley Institute, provides tips and reminders to help you become a better communicator.

From Guide to Effective Communication

Communicating Across

Effective communication with co-workers and the public is vital to successfully carrying out your duties.

Miscommunication can lead to morale problems with your colleagues or confusion for guests. The following list provides helpful tips that will help you improve your communication skills.

Essential Communication Skills:

Create clear messages of relevance and concision

Maintain professionalism

Create climate of trust and respect

Be able to say “I don’t know” and follow-up later

Use positing responses

Maintain consistency between verbal and non-verbal communication

Professionally challenge biases, stereotypes and generalizations

Relection

  • The guide has tips for communicating up, down and across. Which of these communication types is the greatest challenge for you?
  • In the “Speaking Tips” section, there is an example of how pitch, inflection and emphasis can change the meaning of a sentence. Think of the last time someone misunderstood something you said. Would your meaning have been clearer if you had changed the point of emphasis in your statement?

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