Welcome to this issue of "Dr. T's Timely Tips" by Dr. Tony Alessandra. Please send your feedback to DrTony@Assessments24x7.com!

Listener Reception Problems

Often it is hard to determine the listener's ability to receive a message. The listener may be inattentive or bored.

If you're presenting a message to someone who has other things on her mind, chances are good that you will be dealing with a distracted listener. The ability of a listener to receive your message is affected by her emotional state, preexisting commitments, financial pressures, and pre-judgments about you and your message. Before presenting your message, you need to make sure that you have the listener's attention.

Another way of thinking about communication is to compare it to a radio station. A sender and a receiver are required to transmit the message. A powerful station can send a message to a high quality receiver and the message comes through loud and clear. A weak station trying to get a message over a range of mountains to a 1940 vacuum-tube radio doesn't have much of a chance.

There are three requirements to getting your message through clearly:

Make sure you are a powerful station: Your words need to present your message clearly; your vocal tone needs to match and strengthen your words; and your visual appearance and gestures need to be consistent with your words and vocal tone.

Clear the environment: Anywhere along the process, "noise" -- or static -- can drown out the message. Don't try to transmit over a mountain range. Eliminate distractions, excess noise, and messy, chaotic surroundings. Present your message at a time when it can be received. A radio station that wants to reach business commuters plays its message during the rush hour, not at 3:00 a.m.

Make sure the listener's radio is on. Get your listener's attention. Find out what frequency he's tuned to and transmit on that frequency. If he's interested in facts and figures and you're giving him emotional high drama, you're transmitting on the wrong frequency.

Anytime you hear people saying, "I didn't understand what you meant ... I thought you said ... You never told me ... I didn't hear that...," you know there was a failure in one of these areas and your message did not get through. We commonly call this a communication breakdown. However, you can get around or avoid many of these breakdowns. You can project a clear verbal, vocal and visual signal in a way that gives your listener a better chance to receive it precisely as it was sent. You can filter out the noise, gain the attention of your listener and present your message in its clearest, most powerful form. You can learn how to establish a feedback process that will allow you to adjust your signal and correct errors received by your listener.

By using noise-free verbal and nonverbal skills during the sending and the feedback processes, you minimize communication barriers and establish an effective, efficient communication climate -- a climate that establishes, maintains, and enhances mutual trust and credibility.

Here's to more personal insight,


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