Sometimes something you say without any ill intention or motive behind it can be so misconstrued that it severely damages a relationship. Or else you may ask someone to do something and they completely misunderstand your directions.
Especially when you are in a position of authority as the owner of a spa or massage business or a manager, it’s extremely important to make sure how you communicate to your staff comes across clearly and effectively so as not to cause a misunderstanding. Effectively communicating with clients also can be an issue. A client may misunderstand your response to a question, which can result in a loss of business. Or they may not clearly understand your directions for use of at-home products and so not get the full benefits of the offering or else have a bad reaction. And there can be a huge and costly misunderstanding when there is a breakdown in communication with vendors and other business partners.
You may be thinking you are communicating clearly, but if you aren’t getting the responses and reactions you expected, you’ll want to listen to yourself and try to make some changes. Here are a few things to consider from that can “change the conversation” quickly.
Choose your words: Make sure to use words that can be easily understood. Words that are unclear can lead to confusion and misunderstanding.
Be aware of your tone of voice: Tone of voice can say a lot and not always what you want it to. Listen to yourself when you are talking to your team members or clients and ask yourself how you think the tone of your voice is impacting your message. If you sound curt but your message isn’t meant to be harsh; you may be building fences and not bridges to communication.
Listen: Communication is a two-way street. It helps to find a way to make sure the other party understands you. You might try a subtle question to ensure the message you sent has been received. For example, if you need someone to change the way that they greet customers, you could ask, “Looking at your own actions and what I’ve just mentioned, what might be something you are doing that clients find objectionable and how will these suggestions I've given change that.” If you are explaining a process to a client about a cream to use at home, you might ask, “Which of the steps I’ve outlined might pose a problem for you.”
Be brief: Get to the point. If you need to, jot it down first. Also to be brief, catch yourself from repeating points to often. If you aren’t sure that someone has heard or listened to you, ask them to repeat it. Don’t repeat the same thing several times. Assume that once is enough.
Determine the desired out: Knowing what you want out of the conversation; helps to guide it and the words and examples you use. Think about what you want to achieve, particularly when the conversation needs to affect change.
Set the right tone: When you need to talk to someone, try to avoid any tension in the exchange. Even if you need to talk about something that has been a problem, try to make it a friendly exchange. Start out by assuming good communication can resolve the issue.
Experiment with some of these ideas, if you aren’t doing them already, and see if you are “getting your message across” the way you want.