What consistently good communicators do: Prepare thoroughly, show up on time, seek to understand, be thoughtful about their contributions, pay attention to non-verbal cues, and follow up.
When they do all of this, they succeed in reaching the people they’re speaking to in the right context – unerringly.
It turns out that being a consistently good communicator is largely determined by what we do when we’re not trying to communicate.
This post came out a while ago. I was reminded to write about it when I saw the 16 April Daily Stoic entry, OBSERVE CAUSE AND EFFECT:
“Pay close attention in conversation to what is being said, and to what follows from any action. In the action, immediately look for the target, in words, listen closely to what’s being signaled.”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 7.4
To both quotes, there is an undercurrent of presence, of being in the moment when communicating. Being distracted by a laptop, tablet, or phone takes away from that presence.
The other undercurrent is that communication is, by definition, bidirectional (or full duplex for the networking nerds out there). It’s funny to me how many people forget that.