How to Communicate Effectively with This One Rule

Better communication, more opportunities

Vincent Mok
Nov 16 · 3 min read

Communication plays a huge part in our life. We need to talk with our parents, friends, colleagues or anyone you met in your life. If we could not truly express what we want or shared the information correctly, the mistakes will pass on like a domino effect.

It is not difficult to find communication errors in our life. I often realized that people are not always on the same page, or the results are always out of expectation.

Try the following experiment, trust me, everyone will get different results.

Get a group of people, and distribute some pens and papers to them. Ask them to sit far away from each other, such that they could not see each other’s paper.

Now, tell them to draw a house, a tree, and a pond on the paper. Once they have finished, collect their papers.

Take a look at what they have drawn. As expected, everyone has drawn different things on the paper.

Just because they did not meet your expectations, could you say that they are wrong?

The fact is that they have drawn the correct objects. However, are the objects in the right position? Is the house with 4 windows and 2 doors? Are there any fish in the pond?

Effective communication is essential to bring everyone’s expectations to the same level.

Effective communication is not easy. We need to control the amount of information in our requests. Not too much and not too little. An excessive amount of information will cause confusion, while an insufficient amount of information will cause puzzling.

So the rule that I have been following for the past few years during meetings or open discussions as below.

First of all, comment based on observation. Based on the current situations, describe the status. Remember to use simple wordings to avoid any confusion. Sometimes, inappropriate usage of adjectives would cause a bad impression. And you never know whether it is good or bad. Especially it is only the beginning of your sentences, a bad impression would distort your ideas. Therefore, keep it simple.

Second, describe your feeling. You could say this is optional. However, it creates empathy. Everyone has faced difficult situations. If you could describe your feeling right now, people would understand. On the other hand, if you do not truly express your feeling. People would think whether you are putting on a mask, pretending to be an innocent, etc. It is like a guessing game. And this is why there are so many communication mistakes in between. Therefore, be sincere.

Third, say your request. Once you have described the status and feeling, speak out your request. Since you are requesting, it is important to ask in a polite way.

Lastly, say what support you required. Remember the experiment above? If we do not describe and explain properly, it is difficult to keep everyone on the same page. More importantly, we need to point out all the little points as well. Otherwise, the conversation would never end.

Regarding to the issue X, my feeling is Y, and my request is Z, would you like to provide 123…?

After you have requested for support, try to predict the questions or feedback that you might receive. Accordingly, you would know what is required to tell right at the beginning.

Live Your Life On Purpose

Get Purpose. Get Perspective. Get Passion.

Vincent Mok

Written by

Professional foosball player and coach | Writer for The Ascent, Live Your Life On Purpose. Write about Productivity, Personal Growth, Self-improvement weekly.

Live Your Life On Purpose

Get Purpose. Get Perspective. Get Passion.

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