The Art of Communication
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The Art of Communication

  Jan 22 2019

# Administration and Secretarial

We all communicate naturally; most of us find it impossible NOT to communicate, but we don’t always communicate effectively. First of all, let’s analyze communications. We pick up messages from each other in three ways; from body language, tone of voice and the words we use. We pick up most from people’s body language and, yet, so often we don’t even consider this when hoping to communicate effectively.



For example, a job interview; we prepare answers for questions that they may ask us or that we may ask, we think about what to wear, however, how often do we consider our tone of voice or our body language? Nobody should become like a choreographed politician, but we should put some thought into such things.

This applies also to our interactions with colleagues and clients. If you want to make sure someone is not insulted or takes something the wrong way, make sure you communicate your message in an appropriate way.

Our body language should be relaxed and friendly if we don’t want someone to feel threatened. You may pick the correct words to use, but these words will lose all value if the body language contradicts the message. It is possible to show sarcasm, dislike or anger with our stance or facial expressions.

Next, think about how many ways you can say “thank you”; with sarcasm, anger, delight, appreciation. Make sure you always get the tone right. Practice in advance if you are worried about offending someone.

Watch out for negative words such as “just”, “actually” or a phrase such as “in the first place”. Added to what we consider polite phrases, these can show aggression. “The fault wouldn’t have occurred if you had connected the wires properly in the first place” or “I’m just a secretary”.

Rephrase these in this way “The fault may occur if the wires are not connected correctly” and “I’m a secretary”. A small change in wording can make a huge difference to a relationship. Prepare your words along with your tone and body language.

“The meaning of our communication is the response we get back, regardless of the intention.”

If someone hasn’t understood us, we tend to assume they’re not listening or being stupid; maybe WE are not expressing ourselves in the correct way for that person.

To ensure good relationships we need to build rapport with people and we can do this in four ways:

  • Non-verbal
  • Voice/tonality
  • Language
  • Beliefs

If we can match people’s body language and tone of voice there will be a rapport. We feel closer to people who use similar words to us – be it our mother tongue or simply regional dialects. We also have rapport with people who have similar beliefs to us; not only religion, but interests, ethics and standards.

“Sit up and take notice of what makes people sit up and take notice.”

Take an interest in other people and you will have a great relationship with those people and, hence, much improved communications.

Listening is also a vital part of communications and, as you can now understand, it is not just about the words, but also a person’s tone of voice and their body language – listen and observe. Consider written communication and your correspondence will be much more effective, maybe even persuasive, if you consider your reader. Use their words, consider what is important to them.

And don’t forget social media where, again, all of this applies. Give people something that will interest them and they will take an interest in you.

It is a basic human right to be able to express ourselves perfectly – and effectively.

About the Author

Heather Baker

Heather Baker is a highly accomplished training consultant, specializing in Office Professional skills, with over 19 years of training experience. Before becoming a consultant and delivering programs to numerous participants from all levels of administration, Heather spent over 20 years in multiple Executive Assistant roles, including 10 years assisting the Chief Executive of Granada Television in the U.K.

Heather’s programs not only cover the fundamentals, but also encompass innovative topics to help organizations thrive in their daily activities. Her training has enabled professionals to enhance the way they work, leading to more success for their business.

Heather holds a Paris Chamber of Commerce Bilingual Secretarial Diploma and is a Certified Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Practitioner. She travels worldwide to motivate and develop the skills of personnel in diverse organizations and industries. She regularly delivers presentations at secretarial and office professional conferences and is a regular contributor to office professional magazines, webinars and blogs. She is also a Prince’s Trust Business Mentor in the UK and a mentor for Isipho Admin in South Africa, as well as the creator of the Baker Write speedwriting system and the author of “Successful Minute Taking: Meeting the Challenge” and “Successful Business Writing”.

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