Archiv der Kategorie: Communication

Communication consists of perception, thought models and communication behavior.

Five more ear sharpeners

Ear sharpeners are phrases that require attention. Messages consist of descriptions that are intended to convey facts. Additionally, speakers send hidden messages about themselves. The key to these disclosures often lies in the first words. The background can be deciphered by asking appropriate questions.

Let’s look at some new ear sharpeners.

  • I would…
    The good news that is signaled with this beginning is that someone is thinking about what to do. If the sentence furthermore starts with „I“, the probability increases that the person is trying to find the solution by oneself. But if then the word would follows, it is unclear whether this person is willing to get involved personally. Example: I’d like to try another solution.
    To keep the speaker active, you can immediately react: Good idea! Go for it!
  • Objectively speaking…
    Statements can be interpreted in different ways. In order to give more weight to the content, one eliminates the conceit of personal bias by explicitly emphasizing objectivity. This neutrality does not exist, since all propositions are always subjectively colored. Statements always depend on the location and experience of the observer. This becomes apparent, when several people describe the same facts differently. Example: From an objective point of view, only these options remain.
    In order to ensure that you come as close as possible to the actual facts of the case, further evidence can be asked for: Are there any other factual contributions?
  • I really mean it!
    Statements can announce activities and convey opinions and feelings. They concern the speaker or represent his or her assessments. The real intentions of a person cannot be seen in the utilized words. For this reason the speakers underline their importance by making the seriousness clear through this ear sharpener. Example: We have to try harder to reach our goal, otherwise we will have problems. I really mean it.
    In order to use the momentum of the speaker’s decisiveness, one should challenge its seriousness: Let’s immediately sit together and determine the next steps.
  • That’s just the way it is.
    Some conversations end with the statement that there is nothing more to say, because that is simply the way it is. This classical killer phrase is an attempt to nip any statements and contradictions in the bud. Example: We can’t do this. That’s just the way it is.
    In this case you can help the speaker out of his resistance: What could we further use so that it works differently?
  • Based on my long experience…
    A particularly immodest statement is the reference to one’s own competences. Since a speaker always talks about himself or herself with his or her words, it is important to focus attention on possible weaknesses or concerns of the person. Example: I know this weak point based on my long experience.
    This is a good opportunity to reuse the wealth of experience by asking: How have you solved this so far?

Bottom line: Statements often contain additional signals that help to better understand the speaker’s intentions and to react appropriately. Theorists, realists, serious, simplifying and experienced people deliver messages in addition to the content, which make their real intentions recognizable by the used phrases. It is worth paying attention to these ear sharpeners and using them as an amplifier for oneself.

Em@ilettes become more important

In Germany, we receive on average more than twenty business-related e-mails per day – almost twice as much as three years before. If we assume a serious processing, then reading and answering takes on average five minutes, which leads to more than one and a half hours of email time without working on the actual task. The more emails someone receives, the less time remains for the work resulting in poor quality and email ping pong whereby the burden of emails increases continuously. Although one could reduce the effort for all participants by a conscious email handling and a certain self-discipline – e.g. by a common Em@ilette.

The following approaches could increase the quality of an email and thus reduce the processing time for everyone.

  • Recipient-oriented
    Lengthy self-adulation undermines the recipients‘ attention. More value is created for them by formulating the message from their point of view. This so-called PERYOU takes the interests of the addressees into account and is limited to what is expected of them.
    Thus, listing offers, which do not differ eventually from those of the competitors, does not
    create any curiosity – „We deliver the newest …“
    Writing from the viewpoint of the recipients, than one considers their language, thinking, inner state and situation – „You avoid with this … “
  • Solution-oriented
    The senders often think that they have to explain their problems to the receivers. One reason could be the justification or excuse for a late or incomplete delivery. Or to valorize the own achievement by explaining the difficulty of the task. Or one doesn’t know what to say, because there is currently no solution. Or one cannot anticipate the target group and therefore cannot apply PERYOU.
    The detailed description of the problem and its causes extend the discussion and still does not provide a solution – „Implementation is difficult, because we encounter everywhere resistance, which leads to …“
    Whereas looking at the solution describes the future result – „You get …“
  • KISS
    The English abbreviation KISS (i.e. Keep It Simple, Smart) means in German ‘Brevity is the soul of the spice’. The shorter an email, the easier it can be processed. You’ve found the right length, when you can’t delete anything. Simple and short sentences have a maximum of 12 words. You avoid all kinds of filler words (see below). Clarity is enhanced by one thought per sentence, one topic per paragraph and no more than fiveplusminustwo topics per email.
    In most cases, active instead of passive sentences and verbs instead of substantiations lead to a better understanding – „The administrator activates your account today. Tomorrow you can use the new feature.“
    The icing on the cake in effective emails is positive formulations that clearly name the content – „You get …“ instead of the undefined negative sentence „You cannot get everything.

In addition, formal aspects can be built into an Em@ilette: a meaningful subject line; clear rules for the use of CC; suggestions for personal salutations; examples of appropriate greetings; a basic structure of the content, such as introduction, main body, binding closure, and so on.

Bottom line: The mutual exchange of information plays an important role in our everyday lives. In addition to personal meetings, the written exchange of information has shifted from physical letters to e-mails. The possibilities and the continuous acceleration create „faster disasters“ for those involved. Therefore it makes sense to consider the right use of email. With this article you have an impression of the possibilities in terms of content: Recipient and solution orientation and the shortness of an email. The fact that the number of emails is increasing demonstrates that Em@ilettes are becoming also for you increasingly important.

P.S. Some filler words

a little bit, a long time ago, absolutely, accordingly, actually, adequately, after all, after that, again, all, all around, all in all, almost, already, also, always, any, anyone, anyway, apparently, approximately, as follows, as it were, as well … as, assuredly, at all, at best, at last, at least, at long last, at the most, barely, basically, bluntly, but, by all appearances, by far, by no means, by the way, carefully, certainly, clearly, commonly, comparatively, completely, conceivably, consequently, consistently, constantly, decisively, definitely, downright, each, easy, especially, even, ever, everywhere, evidently, exactly, exceedingly, excellent, here and there, existent, expressly, extremely, fairly, few, finally, for real, for sure, for the second time, for the umpteenth time, for this, formally, fortunately, frequently, from time to time, fully, furthermore, generally known, heartily, here and there, however, I think, I would say, I believe, in a way, in all clearness, in any case, in approximately, in contrast, in general, in itself, in and of itself, in my opinion, in places, in principle, in spite of everything, in this context, in turn, incessantly, incredibly, indeed, indisputably, indubitably, irrelevant, just, just like that, largely, maybe, meanwhile, mind you, more or less, moreover, most of time, mostly, multiple, namely, naturally, nearly, never, nevertheless, nonetheless, now, now and then, obviously, occasionally, oddly enough, of course, often, on the one hand, on the other hand, once, once again, finally, one more time, only, originally, partout, per se, plentiful, possibly, practically, preferably, presumably, presumed, probably, quite, rarely, really, recently, regardless, relatively, repeatedly, senseless, several, simply, smoothly, so, so to say, so to speak, somehow, something, sometime, sometimes, somewhere, straight, straightway, strictly, strikingly, substantially, suddenly, sustained, Thank God, the truth is, theoretically, there, thereby, therefore, ultimately, unconscionable, under no circumstances, undoubtedly, unequivocally, unfortunately, unquestionably, unspeakably, usually, very, visibly, well, without doubt, without exception, without this, yet, you could say