In last week’s Wednesday weekly wisdom I talked about communication and how we can all improve our communication with others.
I have recently started a diploma in sign language in a bid to be a more inclusive communication and engage with the 150,000 British sign language users in the UK.
This made me think about how we can all learn news way to communicate that are more inclusive and effective. So here are my top 3 tips to be a more inclusive and effective communicator.
1) Make No Assumptions – This means speaking without assuming that your conversation partner has the same shared understanding of words or adopt the same meaning for those words. Therefore, it’s useful to create a mutual understanding with those you are talking of the words you use , defining the meaning you attribute to them and creating a baseline to build up from. By having all parts of the conversation made clear, instead of implied meaning it reduces the potential for miscommunication and meaning being lost in translation. This method of communicating is particularly useful when speaking to autistic friends and colleagues.
2) Set out the intention of your communication – At the outset of communication it is useful to convey the intention of your communication. Is it to inform, to engage your conversation partner to undertake action. This is often an area of miscommunication e.g when one party want to be heard and seen and the other party rushes to find solutions. By being clear on the outset of communication, the parties in the conversation can hold space for each other and meet the needs of their conversation partner.
3) Check that your conversation partner has bandwidth – This means checking they have emotional bandwidth and the time to engage with the communication. This shows respect for their time and their emotional states. It also prevent conflict and the pain caused when you feel your conversation partner is not listening. If you are on the receiving end of communication, you can also stop communication and advise on your level of bandwidth and time constraints.
Bonus tip: When speaking example to children, learn how to communicate in a way that appropriate to their development level to ensure they understand you.