Communication Cycle Top Tips
1 – CLARIFY YOUR AIM
Organize your thoughts about the message that you want to communicate by answering these questions:
- To whom am I communicating?
- What message am I trying to send? What am I trying to achieve?
- Why do I want to send this message? Do I need to send it at all?
- What do I want my audience to feel?
- What does my audience need or desire from this message?
What do I want my audience to do with the information I am communicating?
2 – COMPOSE YOUR MESSAGE
Now that you have organized your thoughts with the questions in step 1, start crafting your message. Ask yourself:
- What is the best way to communicate this message?
- What level / type of language should I use?
- Does the audience have any background information on the topic?
- Will my audience need any additional resources to understand my message?
- Am I expressing emotions in my message? If so, which emotions?
- What do I want my audience to do with the information I am communicating?
3 – TRANSMIT / DELIVER YOUR MESSAGE
The way that you communicate your message is vital to ensuring that your audience receives it effectively. Ask yourself:
- Is this the right time to send this message?
- What is my audience’s state of mind likely to be, and what workload will they be experiencing when they receive this message? How should I present my message to take account of this?
- Will there be any distractions that may damage the impact of the communication? This is especially important to consider when giving a speech or presentation.
4 – RECEIVE FEEDBACK
Without feedback from your audience you will never know how you can improve the way that you communicate your message. Make sure that you include some type of feedback process as part of your communication. For example:
- Do you know how to read body language? And could you use it to steer your presentation?
- If you are giving a speech or presentation, will you allow time for a question-and-answer session at the end?
- Will you have a process for getting feedback from your audience?
- When will you receive feedback, is it generally what you want and expect?
- Remember, you can use indirect feedback here too. Did you get the response that you wanted from your communication? Is there anything more that you can interpret from the responses that you have received?
5 – ANALYZE / DECODE / LEARN
Use the feedback that you received in Step Four to learn and grow. Depending on your situation, you might need to re-write your message and try again. One of the benefits of building in a testing step is that you can do this before you have to send a critical message or deliver a critical presentation. Questions that you may want to ask yourself include:
- Why did you receive this feedback?
- What does it tell you about your message?
- What could you have done differently to get the response that you wanted?
- Did the audience feel the way that you expected to feel? IF not, why not?
How should you act or behave differently to move forward?
6 – IMPROVE
All of the feedback in the world will not help you unless you commit to learning and changing. You can do this by:
Honoring and respecting the feedback you have been given. If you believe it is valid, change your message or behavior.
Identify resources that can help you to improve. For example, ask colleagues for help and advice; do more testing; or use surveys, classes, books, seminars etc.