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Effective communicating often depends on the subtle use of language. Thinking through your message and making sure your audience is receptive is key. It is important to think about what you want to say, the specific words you want to use and how your message could be interpreted by others.

This is particularly important when giving feedback; the clarity of the message can be obscured by picking a wrong word or phrase.  This means the feedback won’t land well with the other person. We also need to think about our biases, which can impact our tone, style, and the message itself.

If we have to deliver a message, how sure are we that the other person is ready to receive it?

Russ Larawary author of  ‘When they win, you win’ suggests a great question to ask before launching into a feedback conversation: ‘I think I’m seeing some behaviour that I believe is getting in your way. Are you in a spot where you can hear that right now?’

Sometimes people will be in the wrong place, either emotionally or mentally, to be able to hear what you have to say. If you experience this, it can be a good idea to stop and try to address the situational issues first, rather than launching into your feedback.

Things to think about

There can be a lot to think about. How we deliver a message is critical to how it will be received.  Start by focussing on these four key elements:

1.       What words are you going to use? Take time to plan and practice. Pick your words carefully.

2.     Is the recipient ready to hear the message? Think about checking in with the other person before you launch into your feedback.

3.     How clear is your message? Have you explained what you see and hear as well as the impact that it is having on either you, the team, or the business?

4.     Are your emotions and perceptions in check? Don’t let them cloud your message.

When you’re ready to proceed, take time to deliver the message so that the other person can hear it. Keep an open mindset so you are able to hear their response and understand their position.