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How Can I Best Get My Messages Across?

To communicate effectively in person or in writing, your communications should be clear, complete, and as short as possible. To be clear, complete, and brief, first think about what action you want the receiver to take. Next, list all the facts the other party will need: the who, what, when, where, and how. Then you need to consider how it will be perceived.

A message isn’t finished being communicated, in writing or in person, until you have considered how it will be received by the other party. This is determined by the other party’s needs and concerns. If you are to be an effective communicator, you need to consider these factors and phrase your message in a way to ensure its acceptability.

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Acceptability can be enhanced by your credibility. This, in turn, can be strengthened by word choice. The words used should be direct and definite. Adjectives like “great,” “fantastic,” and “super” should not be overused, nor should qualifiers such as “really” and “very.” The message should be as specific about each point as possible, including descriptive detail where appropriate.

A positive tone further enhances acceptability. Tone is a feeling or mood that the communication creates. The sender’s aim should be to create a feeling in the receiver that “this is the kind of individual with whom I like to deal.”

To develop and maintain a positive tone, emphasis should be on:

  • What can be done rather than what cannot.
  • Pleasant events rather than negative consequences.
  • The beneficial aspects of the requested behavior or situation for the message recipient.
  • The use of positive words such as “please.”
  • Respect for the other person’s concerns.
  • A message that contains accurate information framed in an acceptable, positive format.