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Brian Tracy
A leading authority on the development of human potential and personal effectiveness, Brian Tracy is a dynamic speaker with a wonderful ability to inform and inspire audiences. He is the president of the Institute for Executive Development and was formerly the president of a major development company. The author of numerous books and other materials aimed at helping people perform at their peak and achieve their full potential, Tracy has shared his winning insights with thousands of people throughout the world.
  The Four Types of Business Communication   #586
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Your greatest resource as an executive — and your greatest source of personal power — is your ability to communicate effectively with other people.




There are four basic types of communication that take place in any organization. The first type is the getting and receiving of instructions and assignments both upward and downward, including effective delegation from one person to another. Most problems in business begin with unclear communications in this area.

The second type of communication is the sharing and discussing of information, including teaching people how to do things and the information sharing that goes on in meetings. A breakdown of communication in this area causes things to be done improperly or not at all.

The third type of communication is giving feedback, correction and discipline to people who report to you so that they can have the knowledge and the tools that they need to do their jobs better. The ability to give good feedback is a key skill of the effective executive.

The fourth type of communication has to do with problem-solving and decision-making meetings and discussions. These are some of the most important discussions that take place in any organization.

In each of these four communications areas, the effective executive is capable of not only getting his or her point across, but also of understanding and conveying his or her meaning clearly and unambiguously.

The first job of communicating is to understand, and the second job is to be understood. The most effective communicators are those who accept 100 percent responsibility for both sides of the equation, both for being understood and for understanding the other person's point of view.

The problem is that most people are so concerned about having others understand them that they put very little effort into understanding the other person. This leads to all kinds of communication breakdowns.

Perhaps the single most important element of effective communicating is caught up in the word "clarity." Lack of clarity in communication is responsible for almost all of the difficulties that we have with other people. On the other hand, the ability to communicate clearly is the hallmark of the truly effective human being.

Now, here are two ideas you can use to improve your business communications immediately.

First, take your time and go slowly when passing on important information to others. Be completely clear and as detailed as possible. Make sure that the other person understands clearly before they depart.

Second, seek first to understand and then to be understood in each meeting with others. Ask questions and listen intently to the answers — so that you are perfectly clear about what the other person is trying to communicate to you — before you respond.


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