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Part III: Communicate with Impact > Communication Gaps

Chapter 12. Communication Gaps

Before you can devise strategies for improving the way you express yourself, you need to understand the causes of ineffective communication. Some of the gaps in your communication may occur for the following reasons:

  1. Vocabulary Failure. Words are tools for thought and expression. If you do not know the exact meaning of words, you cannot think with precision; therefore, your ability to express ideas and feelings is also diminished. Studies indicate that people with the highest vocabularies are also highest in position and pay.

    Action Ideas: Read everything you can get your hands on. Listen to Nightingale-Conant’s tape series, The Verbal Advantage. Get a word-a-day calendar for your desk.

  2. Talking Too Much. Some of us judge others’ acceptance of us by how much we talk and how much others listen to us. But you can overwhelm your listeners with conversation until they become confused, bored or both

    Action Ideas: Learn to be word-effective. Do not waste words or ramble. Get to the point, keep to the point. Become aware of how much you dominate conversations and why. Do you begin talking more when you are nervous or uncomfortable? Try to pick up on your listener’s interest level.

  3. Speaking Before Thinking. Sometimes we speak before thinking. You may not think through why you want to speak; you may not be taking time to assess the best way to express your ideas.

    Action Ideas: Stop before you jump into a conversation and ask yourself: What do I want to say? Why do I want to say this? What is the best way for me to get the message across? In a formal setting, you may want to outline your ideas before expressing yourself. For very difficult conversations, it is helpful to practice your comments in advance.

  4. Not Testing For Understanding. The speaker may fail to make sure that the listener understands what has been communicated. Testing for understanding minimizes the possibility of a communication gap and avoids misunderstandings.

    Action Ideas: Ask questions to see if your listener has understood your message. Women generally ask more questions in a conversation than men. They do this several ways, such as ending a statement on a higher pitch, or using tag-ons such as “O K?” “All right?” or “Do you agree?”



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