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Oct 01 2015
It's How You Say It and What Is Said!
Mary Jane McIntosh, CBA, Henderson Wheel

I have always enjoyed going to Credit Congress. The classes I have attended, for the most part, have always been beneficial to me and my job. One class I attended was on communications and getting results. Here are a few pointers from the class that you may enjoy and may be helpful to you every day, as they have been to me.

The 3 keys to being a great leader are COMMUNICATION, COMMUNICATION, COMMUNICATION! Communication is the flow of information between people, and is a very important part of the workplace. It is a skill and should be getting better as we get older. To be a great communicator you need to have active listening techniques. These include maintaining good eye contact, asking clarifying questions, and repeating back to the person what you think you heard him or her say. The first time something is said we have about 60% retention, but if we repeat back what we heard then that goes up to 70-80%.

Sometimes its how we say it. To be more approachable, likable, and trustworthy, follow these guidelines:

Smile - use a mirror at your desk when answering the phone. You'll be amazed how your voice will change.


Open - this type of communication occurs when all parties are able to express ideas to one another. If closed communication occurs then only one person is actively communicating, like a lecture from a speaker or professor.

Forward - lean or focus and face person. Be actively engaged in the conversation.

Territory - this can be referred to as a "bubble" with a person in the center. This forms an area which the person does not wish to be invaded. We need to respect a person's personal space.

Eye contact - We use our eyes as a level of communication with another person. We also avoid a direct look if we have something to hide.

Nod - Nodding is one of the most universally understood human gestures. Whether it means you agree or you are just showing you are paying attention to what is being said.

This spells SOFTEN, which is also an important communication skill. Speaking with a soft voice instead of a loud one is like eating honey instead of drinking vinegar.

Be interested and not just interesting. The act of listening is not the same as hearing. When someone is communicating with you, they want to feel like they're talking to you, rather than at you.


Listen with an open mind. Place yourself in the other person's shoes. It's easy to get lost in yourself. You must look at the problems from the other person's perspective, and assume that if you had been in their shoes you might see things differently.


Also remember you have two ears and one mouth for a reason. This means you should be listening more than you are talking.


Avoid comparing the person's experiences to your own. Though you may think that the best thing you can do to really listen is to compare the person's experiences to your own, this is far from the truth. Avoid saying "I" or "me" a lot. This is a good indicator that you're focusing on yourself more than on the person's situation.

Remember what you've been told. One important part of being a good listener is to actually absorb the information the person has told you. If later you don't remember any names or details of the conversation then it won't sound like you were listening at all.


Communication and listening are two very important and useful skills that we all need and use every day. Effective communication is the glue that helps you deepen your connection to others and improve teamwork, decision making, and problem solving. Of course, it takes time and effort to develop these skills. The more effort and practice you put in, the better your communication and listening skills will become.