10.  Jargon is not communications (neither are acronyms)

When communicating with another person always remember that jargon is agreed on shorthand for a particular concept.  Anyone with a different background probably will not know your jargon, or even worse, apply a different meaning.

9.    Be aware of non-verbal cues

Over 50% of all communications may be happening non-verbally.  Always be aware of other people non-verbal cues as well as your own.  Be very careful that your own non-verbal cues do not conflict with the message you are trying to communicate.

8.   Speak with emotion but not emotionally

A flat or monotonous tone is boring and risks losing the other persons attention.  Changing volume, tone, and showing animation will keep them focused on you and your message.  These are different types of non-verbal cues.  It isn’t just about body movement.

7.   Speak confidently and to the correct amount of detail

Confidence instills trust in both the speaker and the message but including too much detail is boring and erodes attention.  Always remember to initially only provide enough information to engage the person with the communications.   As the interaction continues, more information can be added based on feedback and questions from the other participant.  Communications is a 2 way process so make sure everyone in the discussion is included and participating.

6.   As a broad statement, different generations and cultures communicate differently

It is important to understand your audience.  People that have been raised in different times or cultures have a different way of looking at the world which translates into different communications styles.  For instance, boomers usually prefer face to face or direct voice contacts while millennials are generally more comfortable with text or email messages (raised with computers).  Having said that, always remember that every person is an individual and will have their own style.  Consider the differences in style between and extravert and an introvert, no matter what age they are.

5.  Always remember the 5 C’s  (Clarity, Completeness, Conciseness, Credibility, Correctness )

The 5 C’s of communications are the golden rules for how the message should be presented.  If any of them are missing or ignored the risk of failed communications goes up dramatically.  A failed communications can be either a miscommunication (misunderstanding) or an ignored communication.  Either one will not help you achieve your goal from the communication.

4.   How you communicate is more important than what you communicate

If people are not interested in what you are saying they will disengage from the communication process.   This means that for the communications to be successful you must capture the other parties’ attention.  As Marshall McLuhan said – “the medium is the message”, so how you present the communications will influence how the communications is received.

3.  Translate whatever you are communicating into terms that are important to audience (e.g. if talking to managers, use $ not units)

If you are initiating a communication for your own purposes it is counterproductive to assume the other party will translate any information into their own terms.  There are two main issues to that.  First they may get the translation wrong and, secondly, the harder they have to work at understanding the message the less inclined they are to bother.  Presenting information in terms they think in will be received much more successfully.

2.   Understand what is important to the other person

You will find this concept repeated over and over.  The message you are trying to communicate may be important to you, but if it is not important to them you are essentially pushing a boulder uphill.  If you understand what is important to them and can present your message in those terms you have a much better chance of engagement and therefore, success in your communications.

1.        Always clearly understand WHY you are communicating

If you do not clearly understand why you are communication to someone else, how do you expect them to either understand or effectively engage in the process?  How many times have you been involved in a conversation where you had no idea where the other person was going or why?  You may remember the discussion but it is highly unlikely you remembered the details or ever did anything with the information provided.  In order to communicate effectively it is important for all parties to understand why the communications is happening in the first place.


I hope you enjoyed this quick trip through the 10 Rules to Improve Communications.  I will be presenting a webinar on Communications on Thurs Jan 28, 2016 at 1 PM EST as a joint Professional Development Meeting for APICS Providence Chapter & APICS Hamilton Chapter.  There will be much more detail on these and many other points so feel free to join us.  If you are interested here is the signup URL:

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