Clearly Communicate the First Time

Communicating is a holistic experience. We use words, tone, and body language when we’re communicating. The famous study conducted by Albert Mehrabian described how much each part of the message content contributed to the listener’s understanding of the message.

Message Content

Percentage of Meaning





            Body Language


Although some have challenged these specific findings, just about all agree that these three communication components—words, tone, and body language—contribute to the message being communicated. Thus, we must consider them when we’re communicating. Communications Checklist

Communications Checklist

Here are three recommendations to keep communicating in a crisp and clear manner.


Why It’s Important


Communicating Is More Than Just Words

The Mehrabian study clearly identified how important the various communication elements are. Be aware of tone and body language when talking with a team member. Any tension or lack of interest will quickly be indicated if it exists.

Preparation Is Always Necessary

Few people would give a public speech without preparing, but most of us spend little to no time preparing for a small group or one-on-one conversation. Preparing in advance always produces a better result—for any type of interaction. Take a minute before a meeting to jot down the key points to be communicated. Refer to the list during the conversation, checking off those you’ve covered. It’s a simple way to prepare for and conduct a productive conversation.

Brevity is Beautiful

Having a prepared list of talking points such as those mentioned above helps us stay on point. Marty Nemko, a National Public Radio (NPR) host, offered the following “traffic light” strategy for maintaining a listener’s attention:


§  Green Light. The listener likes us for the first 20 seconds, provided we’re on point.

§  Yellow Light. The listener begins to lose interest at 30 seconds and wonders how long-winded we are going to be.

§  Red Light. The listener has completely lost interest and attention at 40 seconds and we’re now talking to ourselves.


These guidelines make communicating more efficient and effective, which means more time is spent doing!

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