Communicating Effectively For Dummies
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Effective communications includes choosing the proper method to communicate, the right time, and the relevant message. The pitfalls in the following list are ones to avoid:

  • Using e-mail to express concerns. Instead, go to the source to work out problems in person.

  • Talking too much in sales situations. Instead, learn to understand the customer’s needs and then speak to indicate how you can help meet those needs.

  • Responding to requests by immediately saying it can’t be done. Instead, emphasize what you can do and when you can meet the request.

  • *Providing your employees, if you are a manager, with opinionated criticism when their performance needs improvement. Instead, provide employees with specific performance-focused feedback based on your observations.

  • Saying yes when you really don’t mean it. Instead, express your concerns constructively and offer alternatives as to what you think will work better in the situation.

  • Sitting by quietly and passively when people discuss issues with you. Instead, interact with the message you’re hearing and provide verbal feedback to check your understanding of the message.

  • Dwelling on what’s wrong or who’s at fault when dealing with problem situations. Instead, put your focus on working out solutions with others and on how to make the situation better.

  • Focusing on yourself — what you like and don’t like — as you receive others’ messages. Instead, shift your focus from yourself to concentrating on your speaker’s message and work to understand what that message means without passing judgment on it.

  • Attempting to soften a point when addressing tough or sensitive issues. Instead, be direct, constructive, and straightforward so that your message and its importance come across clearly and respectfully.

  • Pushing forward with your idea and disregarding concerns that people have with it. Instead, listen to and acknowledge the concerns and address them. Sometimes the best way to gain support for an idea about which others have reservations is to show that you hear those concerns.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Marty Brounstein is the Principal of The Practical Solutions Group, a training and consulting firm based in the San Francisco Bay area that specializes in management and organizational effectiveness. Marty's consulting work includes one-on-one coaching with managers and executives, assistance to groups working to become productive teams, and guidance and direction for organizations establishing practices for high performance and employee retention. His training programs target management as well as employee-development issues including leadership, team development, customer service, and effective communication.

As a consultant, speaker, and trainer since 1991, Marty has served a wide variety of organizations from high tech to government, for profit to not-for-profit. He has a bachelor's degree in education and history and a master's degree in industrial relations. Prior to beginning his consulting career, he spent a couple of years as a human resources executive.

This is Marty's fourth book and second for Hungry Minds, Inc. He is the coauthor of Effective Recruiting Strategies: A Marketing Approach and author ofHandling the Difficult Employee: Solving Performance Problems. In 2000, he wrote Coaching and Mentoring For Dummies.

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