Interpersonal communication is as simple as it is hard. We see examples of verbal mistakes on a daily basis. Whether it is from our country’s top leadership or from the next store neighbor, it is an everyday event. It might come from our pastor or rabbi. We might hear it from the podium at a business conference, in a quarterly meeting, or in simple conversation. And we have all done it in the past. We said something to someone we did not mean to say, and we really regret it. Sometimes it is a promise. Some are simply mistakes. But communicate it in front of the wrong people or audience and it can be embarrassing to all involved. It is interesting to note that most verbal gaffes come after we have practiced what we will say; or worse, we say it without forethought at all. And it always happens seems to happen when we are talking too much. It is a numbers game.
Many of us tend to over talk in an array of situations; most people will not tell us that we are doing it in conversation. And it is a classic leader mistake. Recently, we have witnessed these verbal gaffes in the national political arena. “Talky” people are most prone to this aspect of communication and it can indeed cause damage and upset people on matters of importance to them.
Personally and professionally there is a three step process, used in some sales circles, that virtually eliminates the problem.
Here is the three-step strategy that, if followed, usually will minimize major verbal errors:
- Specific to the (deal) situation: Never speak a single word unless it on topic. It must be always important to the conversation. Stay focused.
- Value up: In conversation are we really presenting value? Are we always making things better?
- Relationship-driven: Every word is part of an interpersonal action. We send (speaker) a message to a receiver (audience). Every statement has to support and build a partnering of sorts. Is the person we are speaking to getting better in some way because of what we are saying? This is a paramount factor to eliminating mistakes that confuse or hurt.
Positive conversation and writing are truly skills that are continuous process. Remember, focus on what you post on Facebook, tweet on Twitter, and plus on Google+ as well. It takes just a second or two as we ask ourselves situation, value, and relationship. With practice, we become clear orators for mutual opportunity and it takes just a quick second to keep these factors in mind every time we speak.
Within business communication, success happens with a little forethought. Minimizing error makes everyone look better. We all mean well. Just remember what Mom told you.
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