5 tips to combat “cheap speak”

The way we communicate with others is becoming more and more like the way we chat. But this doesn't have to be the case. The following tips will help you to communicate better.

1. Be in the here and now. Good communication is based on the fact that you devote yourself to the person you're speaking to. Give them your full attention. Forget your smartphone, tablet or notebook for a moment.

2. Avoid jumping from one subject to another. A conversation shouldn't serve as a way of getting things off your chest quickly. In order to communicate effectively, both parties to the conversation must consider each other. Allow the other person to present their thoughts, put yourself in their place, follow their train of thought and reply based on what they've said. Only in this way can communication result in added value.

3. The encounter itself plays a crucial role in good communication. Words, voices, intonation, facial expressions, gestures and looks: no technical device can replace these.

4. Take time for yourself and then take time for others too. This may sound trivial, but we all need time to collect our thoughts and feelings. After taking time out, you can focus on the conversation again and give your full attention to the person you're speaking to.

5. Stop “cheap speak”. Don't use ready-made formulations. The aim of communication isn't simply to get across content—this content must be allowed to grow and develop. Take in new information, think about it and then pass on new information yourself. During a conversation, don't develop the one “right” solution. Develop a good one together instead. A solution which is better than anything an individual person could come up with.

Gabriele Zienterra

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