The importance of communication grows. Communication is the lifeline in any relationship. What could be more important than communication? The answer is effective communication.
To make sure you’re expressing yourself openly and effectively, here are 9 principles of good communication.
1. Have A Goal
First, determine what you want your audience to do or get out of your communication. Are you positioning yourself as a thought leader or are you persuading them to take action? Figuring out your ideal outcome at the start and intentionally crafting your communication to reach for that goal will make it much more effective. Decide which KPIs can best show that your goals have met, whether it’s clicks, social shares, sign-ups or purchases.
Good communication is never one way. If you never listen to what your audience is saying or give them a chance to engage, you’ll struggle to connect effectively with them. So, do your research, read what they’re writing, ask for their feedback and incorporate what they’re looking for into what you’re trying to communicate.
3. Adjust To Your Medium
Context about where and how your communication is being consumed is a vital factor to consider. For example, you wouldn’t say certain things through written communication because the tone and inflection of the spoken word aren’t there. For example, you would communicate differently on the phone than face-to-face because the other person can’t see your face, hand gestures or body language.
Therefore, once you decide the most appealing format to reach your audience, make sure you tailor your content and messaging for that medium.
4. Stay Organized
When starting out, create a cohesive, high-level outline that includes your goal, your main point(s) to get across and the main ways you will illustrate them for your audience. Stay focused on this plan, be analytical in your research and avoid scope creep.
5. Be Persuasive
This is the whole reason you’re communicating, so do it well! There are different ways to persuade people. So, if appropriate, appeal to their rational side with relevant facts to back up your main argument. But, perhaps most times, you need to appeal to your audience’s emotional side. Studies have shown that our emotional brain processes information five times faster than the logical side of our brain. So, use images and stories that elicit happiness, hope, humor or surprise to get you closer to your communication goal.
6. Be Clear
Begone jargon! Farewell wordiness! Adios spelling mistakes! Keep your writing clear and concise. Explicitly state what you’re arguing, keep it as short as possible, avoiding long words when a short one will do and keep your sentences below 30 words. Usually, this just requires editing to take out all that’s unnecessary.
7. Less Is More
Your audience is likely busy. So don’t waste your (or their) time with irrelevant tidbits, repeated information or details. Especially when they don‘t help you with your main communication goal. It will lead to disengagement and take away from the effectiveness of your efforts.
8. Be Curious
Finally, resolve to always be learning. While things remain the same, how we communicate is constantly evolving. Read lots, talk to mentors and never assume you know everything in good communication. For your individual efforts, test different formats and styles to see what works best when connecting with your unique audience and always be open to feedback.
Most Common Barriers to Effective Communication
Attitudes: emotions like anger or sadness can taint objectivity. Also being nervous, having a personal agenda or “needing to be right no matter what” can make communications less than effective. It means “Emotional Noise”.
Language: this can seem like an easy one, but even people speaking the same language can have difficulty understanding each other if they are from different generations or from different regions of the same country. Slang, professional jargon, and regional colloquialisms.
Physiological Barriers: ill health, poor eyesight or hearing difficulties, pain.
Cultural Noise: people sometimes make stereotypical assumptions about others based on their cultural background.
Ambiguity and Abstractions Overuse: leaving things half-said, using too many generalizations, proverbs or sayings, can all lead to communications that are not clear and that can lend themselves to misinterpretations.
Assumptions and Jumping to Conclusions: This can make someone reaches a decision about something before listening to all the facts.
Translation as a key factor to achieve effective communication
It is vital to open lines of communication which will help assure proper understanding and assessment of the client’s needs. To do so, and determine what services are being requested, ask convenient questions. The following are some among the many potential questions:
• What are the client’s objectives?
• Are there any technical or other special knowledge requirements?
• Is localization a factor, or is a general, universal language appropriate?
• Is there a deadline?
• Is there any special formatting or graphic design considerations?
• Will there be client review?
Having the answers to these and other relevant questions will contribute to the creation of an understanding—agreement—between translation vendor, which we will here assume to be a translation agency, and client and an effective workflow that will be an essential factor in the project’s eventual success.
Effective communication is crucial in cases of major clients with large projects that need a translation translated into multiple languages, or smaller projects into a single target language. It is important to recognize that sometimes an agency may receive contradictory information from the different contacts involved in the project.
Be it as it may, it would be most helpful if the agency could have the client identify the primary contact. There cannot be multiple voices for the agency to deal with. The empowered person needs to deal with all doubts, requests for clarifications, technical and localization issues.
At the start of any project, it is imperative to confirm to the client in writing the specifications (language, deadline, etc.) as soon as possible. Make sure you delineate all the details.
Communication with the client should be concise and clear. In addition, whenever questions arise, a translator needs to provide suggestions on how to resolve them for the client. The agency should also be available to respond to any queries or concerns that the client may have. Similarly, it may also be necessary for the Project Manager (PM) to provide guidance to the client when handling client reviews.
Communication between the client and the PM should not be a one-sided affair. Both parties need to convey effectively their expectations and need from each other to ensure the success of the project.
Undoubtedly, communication is a critical feature of vendor management.
The agency should provide its vendors such as individual translators, editors, or DTP persons with all the relevant project instructions and details, in writing, via email.
From the onset, vendors should get a concise description of the project with the word count and the precise task they are being asked to perform, given the fact that some vendors may offer multiple services.
As obvious as it may seem, it is also vital to include the target language, since some vendors work with different languages.
Finally, vendors must know the deadline. Be sure to include the date, the hour, and corresponding time zone (eastern, central, or country-specific time zone, etc.). By giving the detailed deadline, the agency will avoid confusion. Avoiding confusion saves valuable time, energy, and money. Remember the expression, “time is money”.
Good Communication is Effective Communication
Communication is the cornerstone of our profession. To be effective at it–whether selling a product, trying to convince a group to act or getting your team aligned — these communication principles should help focus your thoughts into something both powerful and useful.