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Communication Effectiveness – The Three-Level Exchange Process to Value-Based Action!

SERIES: Part Two of a Five-Part Article

World-class communication exchanges made easy in the work place. What could be easier?

As a leader, how the other party interprets your message is crucial for the exchange process to occur. Understanding the act of communicating to another person or groups in the work place and in which level of the communication exchange process you are residing is also important to word economy and communication breakdown avoidance.

If you were to have an out-of-body experience and observe yourself communicating with someone either significantly younger or significantly older than yourself, you would notice how your behavioral patterns change, without much pain or effort, to allow for a successful exchange. When one transitions into a communication exchange with someone in the same peer group, however, many of the exchange process breakdowns occur due to simple resistance or avoidance to what one just did effortlessly with the youth or elder.

So, what are these behaviors, and what are the three exchange process steps to value- based action on the part of the recipient in your communication exchanges?

3. VALUE of that signal to that recipient causes action!

2. UNDERSTANDING of the communication signal being sent by the recipient is essential for the exchange process to evolve upward. Tailoring the message intent by using the appropriate words, syntax, tone, emphasis, imagery, stories, examples and statistics that the recipient can actually comprehend is essential at this second exchange level!

1. RECEIPT/RECEIVED of the message itself is obviously necessary if the message being sent is to be processed and acted upon. Many times, managers and leaders merely craft a message with little regard for the actual recipients. They send that message through the communication airwaves and assume it will be received and acted upon.

As a tactical leader, ensuring communication exchange success is dependent upon your ability to deploy the individual steps necessary to ensure each level is addressed thoroughly!

Here are several immediate application techniques to ensure each step is addressed as thoroughly as necessary and you don’t overkill any one level.

RECEIVED – Ensuring that the signal is received dictates an awareness of any possible interference issues and objectively looking at the transmission of the communication exchange from a broader perspective. Make sure you communicate at the right time and place. Be sensitive to what is happening in the other person’s environment, and ask for verification that it has been receive. Also inquire if they would like the signal delivered in a different format than how you are delivering it at that present moment. The objective is to do something to ensure that if you are taking the time to send a message, it is, in fact, being received. If you d o not receive any immediate feedback confirming a message’s receipt, assume the responsibility to follow up with them in the near future to solicit feedback and determine if it was received. If you receive feedback that the message has been received, cease the delivery activity and evolve upward to the second communication exchange level. Another tactical way to ensure a signal is being received – with minimal interference – would be to ask the recipient to repeat the message; this will ensure the message is correctly relayed. Give the signal a bounce back mechanism – an email return receipt, a phone call response or a postal receipt vehicle – to merely let you know level one has successfully been accomplished.

UNDERSTOOD – Ensure that you adjust how the message is constructed so the recipient can understand and process its meaning. A lot of times, the core reason a person does not take action (Level Three, VALUE) in a communication exchange is due in large part to a breakdown at level two.

This is where one adjusts the jargon, slang, code words, phrases, vocal tones, speed, pitch and pace of the communication signal being delivered. This allows for an accent that can break down understanding based upon the level of education, knowledge, training or experience the parties involved in the communication interaction have!

The use of PowerPoint, handouts, slides, signage, literature, business cards, notes, audio and anything else used to reinforce the understanding of the message must be used judiciously and concluded at the precise moment the recipient clues you into the fact that they understand. The danger of continuing can be the complete disconnect by the recipient to the sender in the communication exchange process!

VALUE – When a signal has value, it motivates the recipient to take action. Your objective in crafting the signal is to build it from the other person’s vested interest level and perspective – the old “what’s in it for me” syndrome!

Motivating the recipient to take action is the net result of effectively crafting your message to evolve through the three levels. A person can sense value only when your message addresses two core needs: Pleasure or Pain. If they sense a better outcome, elevation in status or enrichment of any level, the “Pleasure” is implied, and the recipient will tend to sense a level of value and take action. Conversely, if your message communicates a worsening of lifestyle, status or position, “Pain” has been implied. If that reaches a level the recipient cannot tolerate, the action will again be taken.

The effective leader recognizes all of the nuances that tactically influence effective communication exchanges and strives to ensure he or she takes the necessary steps at each individual level to attain success with the intended recipient.

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