Engaging Corporations - Some suggestions on how to engage corporations based on stories of network members


Communication Toolbox

Some Guidelines for Effective Communication

  1. It should be complete and accurate.

    The information or message should be free from errors or distortions. An inaccurate message does real harm because it gives official status to an error. Inaccuracy may appear in facts and figures or in the choice of words that comprise a message. Errors in facts and figures are less difficult to detect than errors in the choice of words. A good approach to avoiding errors in meaning is to ask: "Is it possible for this message to be misunderstood?” Do not be satisfied with the formulation of a message until this question can be answered in the negative.

  2. It should be definite.

    Be sure about the messages and information you share. Doubts and indecision are conveyed along with the message. Once doubt enters a message, it quickly spreads alarm among participants in the communication process. This creates tensions and distrust of the sender of the message and thus renders it useless.

  3. It should be forceful.

    In addition to being accurate and definitive, a message must carry conviction. Without conviction a message will be understood and carried out in a mechanical manner, but a forceful message is cornerstone for enthusiasm. It injects vigor and serves to eradicate any lingering uneasiness brought by new ideas or approaches to current practice.

  4. It should be suitable and appropriate.

    A message which outrages accepted social practice may get an idea across, but in so doing may create resentments. This defeats the purpose of message. Suitability does not only pertain to the content of the message but also has something to do with the manner by which is shared, i.e., language, tone of voice, body language, etc.

  5. It should be simple.

    People will invest time and effort in understanding a message only if the message is important to them. An individual may spend hours trying to understand the benefits s/he will derive directly from a project/activity/concern but will not spend a minute looking into its negative effects. A good rule to follow is to present one idea at a time. As much as possible, use examples. It has been proven that message length is less of a stumbling block than any difficulty understanding it.

  6. It should not contain hidden meanings.

    A message may have one meaning under certain circumstances and another meaning under different circumstances. There may be a "hidden agenda” sugar coated with niceties or promises.