Updated: Nov 28, 2018
Word usage is about selecting words and constructing sentences that convey exactly what you intended to communicate. The use of words that do not truly represent what you mean to say may cause avoidable errors in interpretation and comprehension. Think in terms of being accountable for what you say to a person, it’s likely that you would be much more attentive to the words you choose to use, how you structure the content and how you come across in the way you are communicating. If you are often saying to people (after saying something) “that’s not exactly what I meant to say, what I meant to say was….” This is probably a good indicator that perhaps you may need to improve how you communicate your thoughts.
Think Before You Speak
Being mindful of the words we use is just one aspect to a conversation, but a very important one at that. The old expression of “think before you speak” has plenty of validity in this era of “mindfulness” as it is really about thinking clearly. In this case, it is not just about reviewing in your mind what you wish to say, but also how you are going to state it and present it. This includes selecting the right wording as well as sentence structure. Do keep in mind that many individuals will use words or expressions that can be interpreted in different ways.
“Core To Surround” vs. “Surround to Core” Communication
This is a communication construct that I have been studying for many years and have since been able to effectively able to apply this methodology. I use this method to train individuals in corporate teams to help prevent communication conflict in my Conflict and Communication Diversity Training Program. The concept is about how people process information when spoken to.
The “Core to Surround” system is when you communicate a thought to a person by beginning with the intended purpose or end goal, and then support this with limited details afterward — thus leaving the listener a chance to ask the speaker questions to fill in any blank areas of knowledge or understanding. This is an especially good strategy for people with Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder as it helps the listener anchor their mind to the intended destination, leaving the person to simply link the details to the end goal and keep the listener focused throughout the discussion.
The opposite style is called “Surround to Core” communication where the speaker begins a story or discussion with events leading up to the end goal or take-away message — essentially the opposite of Core to Surround”. Some individuals like a gradual (build up) in a story-like format and find that the more direct to the point approach (core to surround) too difficult to understand as they are lacking details and need them to fill in along the way to the final destination of the story or statement.
Depending on the individual you are speaking to, usually one of these two styles may work well. Try this; it has helped thousands of people improve their communications tremendously.
What’s In Your Head Does Not Always Get Said
This is a phenomenon that happens to just about everyone. This happens when a person has a thought in their mind and decides to communicate it but during the delivery, the person (without realizing it) may not include some (often pertinent) information causing the listener to be somewhat confused or unclear with the information and its intended message or purpose.
This is a common occurrence for people with Attention Deficit Disorder & Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder as their brains tend to get “ahead of their mouths”, but people, in general, may omit to state information without realizing that they didn’t — though they intended to do so. The other reason for this is a result of assumptive thinking by the speaker. This is when you “assume” a person knows some portions of information or understands some portions of information you are trying to convey. With these two points in mind, it is always a good idea to ask the person you are speaking with if they are following what you are trying to communicate. In other words, do not assume a person actually understands 100% of what you are trying to communicate.
I’m Avy and I provide strategic business consulting and executive coaching service to companies around the globe and in varying industries. I work with startups and founders, with public company CEOs, and I help companies and executives reach their personal and professional goals with respect and pride as we overcome hurdles together. Over the last 10 years, I’ve co-founded three companies, am presently a co-founder and COO/CSO of a tech company, invested in some early-stage startups as an Angel investor, acted as a consultant and advisor for a US-based VC firm, and mentored hundreds of individuals and startups.
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