9 Tips For Clear Communication

Communication is important in business, and clear communication is even more important. Clear communication will help you get what you want, in less time, with less possibility of misunderstanding and the resultant bad feelings. So how do you make sure your communication is clear?

Here are 9 things to should consider:


Active listening

Active listening skills are essential for effective communication. If you’re not paying attention to what someone else is saying, you’re not communicating properly. If you’re not familiar with the concept, check out the Wikipedia article on active listening here or Google it for more articles on how to put it into action.

Repeat back

If you’re not certain you’ve understood what someone’s just said, or it was a long and complicated statement, repeat it back to them in your own words to be sure you’ve got it correctly. That way, any misunderstandings can be dealt with before they are issues.

Focus on what’s being said

When you’re having a conversation with someone, don’t start planning your response while they’re still talking. Likewise, don’t be looking around to see who else you want to talk to. Just focus on the conversation you’re having and pay attention to the words, tone and body language of the person talking. That way you’ll be able to understand what they’re saying.


Don’t waffle

When you’re writing, it’s easy to over explain something. Resist the temptation! It will have the opposite effect to the intended one and will make your message harder to understand, not easier. So, think carefully about what you want to say and try to say it clearly, but concisely.

Use the right words

If you’re not sure of the meaning of a word, then don’t use it. Misusing words does nothing to aid clarity and it makes you look stupid. Using the incorrect words will leave your audience grasping for meaning and making up their own. Which may turn out to be the meaning you were searching for, or may be something totally different.

Tone matters

The tone of your writing is equally important. If you’re writing to a customer it should be in a business-like tone, the formality of the tone should be in keeping with the image your business presents. As a rule, text speak and emoticon heavy text should be left for personal conversations – although it’s still important to keep your audience in mind.


Speak clearly

Whether you’re talking to someone or giving a presentation, it’s important to speak clearly and at a reasonable pace. If you want people to grasp what you’re saying, you need to give them time to understand it. Take a deep breath (several if you’re nervous) and be mindful of the way you’re speaking.

Stay on message

Don’t let yourself get off track. It’s very easy to take a diversion to explain something in more depth or to offer an aside. The problem with this is that it leads your listener away from the topic at hand. While you might find it easy to get back on track, by the time you do return to the topic at hand they might be off on the tangent you instigated.

Mind your non-verbal signals

Non-verbal signals are hugely important in communication. And they’re why communication is more difficult on the phone and even more difficult in writing. Non-verbal signals fill in blanks that aren’t being conveyed in words. So, make sure that your non-verbal signals are on track rather than displaying your boredom, nervousness, irritation or any other off-topic emotion. When your non-verbal signals don’t match your verbal, it’s much harder for your listeners to understand and retain what you’re saying.