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Happy Communicating in 2010!
By Valerie Kendrick, president of Kendrick Resources LLC

I hope everyone’s New Year is off to a great start. After having presented over 100 seminars and workshops in 2009 directly related to verbal and written communication skills, I felt it was essential that we review the top 5 skills to better communications.

So in order of importance they are:

1. Have and Express Positive Intent
How many times have you said or written something to another person who completely misinterpreted your intent? It happens to all of us almost every day. To avoid this I suggest you enter each opportunity to communicate wanting only the best for the other person and yourself, and sometimes you need to come right out and tell them what your intent is.

2. Listen Far More than You Talk
Are you eager to tell your side? Do you find yourself interrupting the person speaking? Are you busy thinking about what you want to say next? Remember that when someone else is talking you must be an “active” listener. Take your role very seriously and make a conscious effort to pay attention.

3. Pick Up on Cues from the Speaker
We all notice non-verbal and tonal clues when a person is talking to us. Now we need to act on the cues to fully engage in the dialogue. Oftentimes the speaker wants more or fewer details, wants us to just get to the point, wants us to give them the big picture, or wants us to tell them what everyone else thinks of their ideas. Each of these cues tells us a better way to communicate with that person. Be flexible in your conversations and practice adapting to the speaker’s needs.

4. Ask Good Questions
Have you ever walked away from a conversation certain you knew what you were supposed to do, only to find out later you had made a few wrong assumptions? A couple good questions you can always ask are “Is this what you mean?” and “Could you tell me more about that?” There is no such thing as a bad question, so make sure you really understand what the other person is saying.

5. Check for Agreement Before Walking Away
Make sure you confirm with the other person what each of you is responsible for and that they agree to do their part. It is also good practice to state clearly what you agree to do. By checking in before you walk away, you save yourself a lot of future frustration and it moves you closer to completion.
---Source: Valerie Kendrick is the president of Kendrick Resources LLC, specializing in communications skills training. She has been called the “Grammar Guru” because of her passion to help the business person communicate more effectively. Valerie can be reached at valerie@kendrickresources.com or by phone at 303-552-7349.
 

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