Communicating at cross-purposes?

The inability to think calmly and respond appropriately when in an interview – or indeed in any communication with others – can harm the reputation of a person or organisation.

CommunicationOne of the most memorable examples of poor corporate communication from this year is the way that United Airlines handled the removal of a passenger, including its response in initial media interviews. Instead of empathising, the chief executive used words with no real meaning, slipping into corporate speak with phrases including “re-accommodate passengers” and that the man had been asked to “deplane”.

Now, with the massive popularity of social media, if a company makes a blunder it might not only have to deal with questions from journalists, but also collective criticism from an entire customer base.

Communicating clearly and using the correct tone is vital. To help you get your message across, here are three key tips:

  • Preparation – Whether you’re giving a presentation at a conference, talking to press, or meeting a potential customer, it is essential to do some background research. Know your audience and anticipate questions they might ask, be confident about your subject matter and have three key messages you’d like to convey.
  • Speak clearly – We all have a tendency to talk too fast. Don’t rush the conversation and avoid language that is meaningless or is made unintelligible by excessive use of technical terms or acronyms that your audience may not understand.
  • Stick to your main points and do not allow yourself to get drawn too far off track. Many people make the mistake of talking too much. Repeat your key points if necessary so you can get back on message .

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