Three Components Of Effective Communication

“Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.”

If you were passionately devoted to a particular cause, you would want others to think like you and act like you. You would want others to join you. So you would probably get involved in a so-called “ministry of multiplication.” You would go out and talk to others and try to recruit them to your cause.

And let’s say after your first six months in this endeavor, you had nothing to show for yourself but one equally dedicated recruit. But during the next six months, you each brought another person into your camp. At the end of the first year, you would essentially have four people dedicated to your cause.

If you continued that simple pattern of multiplication, you would convert the whole world to your cause in about 18 years. Pretty amazing, don’t you think?

But such a thing has never happened because our communication systems keep breaking down. What we have here is a failure to communicate.

Well I’ve learned that EFFECTIVE communication has three components. When any one of these three is missing, you’re going to have problems.

=> 1. Effective communication begins when someone THINKS CLEARLY.

And quite honestly, some people don’t think. And others don’t think clearly.

Take, for example, the case of John Walter, the President at AT&T. The company fired him after 9 months on the job, saying he lacked intellectual leadership. But then they gave him a $26 million severance package. Somebody WASN’T THINKING.

Or take the Illinois man who pretended to have a gun, kidnapped a motorist, and forced him to drive to two different automated teller machines … where the kidnapper proceeded to withdraw money from his own bank accounts. Somebody WASN’T THINKING CLEARLY.

By contrast, I’m finding a number of new phrases in organizations where I’m speaking these days. And even though the phrases are a bit unorthodox, they indicate someone was trying to think and communicate clearly. See if you don’t agree … that these new terms are very clear and quite descriptive.

**Blamestorming: Sitting in a group, discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed, and deciding who was responsible.

**Seagull Manager: A manager who flies in, makes a lot of noise, dumps over everything, and then leaves.

**Ohno-Second: That minuscule fraction of time in which you realize that you’ve just made a BIG mistake.

**Cube Farm: An office filled with cubicles.

The truth is … you must know something before you can communicate it. And the better you know it, the more clearly you can communicate it.

Don’t be fooled by those who seem to speak above your head. Don’t be fooled by those who use big words. And don’t be fooled by those who speak profoundly and sound scholarly. Don’t ever think they’re more intelligent than you are.

I’ve discovered that people who really know what they’re talking about … can cut right to the heart of a matter. They can simplify and clarify even the most difficult concepts. And if they can’t do those things, it’s not a sign of their intelligence. It’s a sign of their communication incompetence.

Once there is clear thinking in place, then …

=> 2. Effective communication gains momentum when someone FEELS DEEPLY.

Whether you like it or not, if you are now … or if you’re ever going to be … an effective communicator, you’re a salesperson. You’re selling something … your ideas, products, or services. And that happens when you FEEL DEEPLY about the concept you are communicating.

John Wesley, one of the greatest evangelists of all time, knew that communication secret. He said, “I set myself on fire and people come to watch me burn.”

Unfortunately, the politics of today are more about fads than feelings. They’re more about political correctness than deep-down, straight-out truth. They even have an inside joke, if you will, that says, “When a diplomat says ‘yes’, he means ‘perhaps’; when he says ‘perhaps’, he means ‘no’; when he says ‘no’, he is no diplomat.”

That’s pathetic.

The truth is … when true emotions enter the communication process, people are more inclined to do something. Mark Twain, the master humorist and storyteller, used the emotion technique to promote his speaking engagements … in a silly kind of way. His ad in an 1866 San Francisco newspaper read…

Is in town but has not been engaged.


Will be on exhibition in the next block.

Were in contemplation for this occasion, but the idea has been abandoned.

May be expected; in fact, the public are privileged to expect whatever they please.

Notice how your eyes go right to the capitalized words. They arouse your interest. They create some feeling.

And in a serious kind of way, you’ve got to feel deeply … and make your listeners feel deeply … if you’re going to be an effective communicator who moves people to action. And if you’ve lost your passion for what you do, say, or sell, maybe it’s time to find another job.

Or if you just need an extra dose of good old-fashioned, long-lasting motivation, follow Joan Baca’s example from the Atlas Pacific Engineering Company. She wrote, “I received your ‘MOTIVATIONAL DREAM CATCHERS’ album a while ago, and the quotes and music are fantastic!! And through the use of repetitive listening, it’s bringing about big changes and great results in my life. The album is working just like Vincent Van Gogh’s comment, that ‘Great things are not done by impulse but by a series of small things brought together’.”

Finally …

=> 3. Effective communication gets results when someone ACTS CONSISTENTLY.

You’ve heard the old cliché that says, “What you do speaks so loudly that I can’t hear a thing you’re saying.” And it’s true.

We all know people who get the first two parts of communication right. They put the right set of words together … CLEARLY. They feel things … DEEPLY. But what they say and feel are not a part of their life. It’s kind of like Congress that pass laws that apply to everyone except the members of Congress.

Booker T. Washington, the former slave, prominent educator, and noted reformer, spoke out against such hypocrisy. He said, “The world cares very little about what a man or woman knows; it is what the man or woman is able to do that counts.”

So if you’re having any problems in communicating your message, if people don’t seem to be convinced by your message, take a look at your life. Are you walking your talk? Are you doing what you said you were going to do? Are you acting consistently?

The more you walk your talk, the more credibility you’ll have and the better communicator you’ll be.

Action:  Take a look at the three elements of effective communication: 1) thinking clearly, 2) feeling deeply, and 3) acting consistently. Which one do you have to improve?