Effective communication is the foundation of every relationship. In healthy relationships, there are open, honest, and caring interactions. Each party understands and attempts to meet the other’s needs.

Every communication contains five basic elements: a sender, a message, a channel, a receiver, and feedback.

Because human nature is complex and full of emotions, there are times when the intended message is received in the wrong way. So, whether it’s your family, your children, your peers or your boss here are some easy ways to achieve effective communication with anyone.

Effective Communication – Know your outcome.

Every communication has an implied outcome. Sometimes the outcome is tangible – an action carried out or a plan of action documented. Sometimes the outcome is philosophical – confirmation of shared beliefs or acknowledgement. Other times the outcome is emotional – a shared moment of intimacy, frustration, heartache or support. Whatever the case may be, approach the interaction focused on your desired outcome and plan your approach based upon it.

Effective Communication – Know your audience.

It is vitally important to have a solid understanding of who the receiver really is. Knowing the following details will greatly improve your chances of effective communication:

  • What time of day is best to approach them?
  • How do they prefer to be contacted – email, phone, face to face?
  • Every relationship has context. Who is the person in relation to yourself? In relation to the outcome you desire?

Effective Communication – Know yourself.

In the context of the relationship, what role do you play? As the sender, understanding your position will help to create a good strategy. It will also help you avoid an emotional delivery of your message. Emotions can get in the way of your point. You must understand what your triggers are and adjust accordingly.

Effective Communication – Know your responsibility.

This is where we typically get tripped up, especially in communications that can become emotional. You must ask yourself one very important question: “What’s riding on my ability to properly deliver this message?” The answer to this question will help you to assess your devotion to your approach. Too often we overcommit to people whom we do not owe as much as we’ve given. Then we are hurt by what is perceived as a negative or insufficient response. On the flip side, when we do not give enough effort we can experience overwhelming pressure and scrutiny.  Measure your level of effort with your responsibility to the relationship.

Using these four easy to apply steps can greatly reduce your stress and improve your outcomes in any communication with anyone.