Effective communication is a highly underrated skill but is, in fact, very powerful. A Kenyan Proverb says, “Talking to one another is loving one another.”

Communication is the exchange of information or ideas between sender and receiver. Communication can be ineffective only if the listener does not misinterpret the sender’s information due to lack of clarity. Have you ever said something, but your team thought you meant something else? The communication has been rendered ineffective, and the purpose of the communication has been lost.

This lack of clarity could arise from ignorance, confusion, or something as simple as a wrong perception. Ever heard the saying that, “you don’t have a second chance to make a first impression?” It’s very accurate when it comes to communication.
Your ideas are only valuable when you can effectively communicate them to others. If you cannot pass your million-dollar ideas or information across to someone else, then the purpose of that communication is lost.

The former American presidential speechwriter James Humes once said, “The art of communication is the language of leadership.” When you communicate well with your team and loved ones, it helps eliminate misunderstandings and encourages a healthy and peaceful environment (family, relationship, or work).

Effective and open communication with your team will also allow you to work quickly and professionally at work. Plus, you’ll be surprised how meeting goals will become so much easier.

Talking to one another is loving one another


Know your Audience

The first and the most crucial step to communicating effectively is to know your audience.
If you don’t know your target audience, how sure are you that the tonality and message you’ve prepared to communicate will be suitable? Research is essential to know who you want to communicate with.

Use the Right Tone

A Sudanese proverb says, “Do not call a dog with a whip in your hands.” Also, a proverb from Nigeria says, “the tone of a discussion is everything about the discussion.” Therefore, the tone you communicate with your audience is as important as speaking to them.

You need to know the right tone that suits your audience and inevitably enhance communication. For example, if you use a formal or professional style to a rather casual audience, you may make them feel tense and uncomfortable. Similarly, using an informal tone to communicate with a formal audience could also be misinterpreted for unseriousness and incompetence.

Use a Relevant Medium

The choice of the medium on which you communicate with your audience is crucial. Depending on their profile (age, sex, origin, socio-professional situation, etc.), you will have to choose the environment they are familiar with to ensure that your message will reach them. A Nigerian proverb says, “there is a place for every discussion, matters that should be discussed standing, should not be said on the seat, and those that should be said indoors should not be said outside.” Social media, offices, workplaces, and seminars are examples of media used to reach your audience.

Know the Right Time

Timing is everything; an African proverb says, “The time to slap a king is the time when a fly touches on his cheek.” Understanding timing is one of the critical stages of effective communication. You may have known your audience, have carefully prepared your message, and chosen the most suitable medium to reach it; however, if you try to communicate when they’re not available, your communication will fail. It is, therefore, necessary to define in advance the best time your message will be read, seen, or listened to.

Be clear in your communication so that you are understood

Do you have a strategy? Make it clear to others what you hope to convey from the start. For example, your goal might be to let others know, get information, or take action on a particular event. If people know in advance what to expect from communication, things will go easier.
Be crystal clear and get straight to the point. To do this, organize and clarify the ideas in your mind. Ideally, you should do this before trying to communicate ideas. If you feel passionate about a topic, your thoughts can be muddled, especially if you haven’t already targeted some key points to stick to when communicating. The key points will serve as anchor points, bringing clarity to your communication. A good rule of thumb is to pick three main points and keep your communication focused on them.

Listen and understand your audience

An African proverb says, “The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand; we listen to reply.” Often, we make the mistake of focusing on what we should say when communicating with others. This only makes for inefficient communication, and your audience may have a negative first impression about you if you only respond without taking time to listen and understand.

Effective communication is not about saying much. Instead, it’s about saying little and listening to more. Listening, on the other hand, is not just about catching the words of a speaker. Listening goes deeper to mean understanding the speaker’s words and the emotions conveyed along with those words.

When you catch a speaker’s words, you are simply hearing them, and that does count towards effective communication. However, when you practice engaged listening, you listen to hear the subtle intonations from the inner voice of the speaker. By understanding their emotions, people will feel heard and will build connections with you for effective communication.


“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place,” a saying goes. So far, we’ve talked about how we can communicate effectively. But what renders communication ineffective? What creates a negative first impression about you in your audience’s mind? The following are some factors that can affect the effectiveness of communication.


Awkward or erroneous knowledge of the audience and their expectations leads to inappropriate methods to communicate with them, which will complicate the interaction between the two parties. The study of its audience is therefore essential for a good understanding and apprehension of the issues.

Lack of Clarity

A lack of transparency of information results in altered information in the end and, therefore, a wrong message disseminated, which may be misunderstood. This false interpretation will lead to lousy application, which is a result of poor communication. For instance, if each individual’s roles and responsibilities are not clearly defined, conflicts can quickly arise and create an unpleasant climate.

Quantity and punctuality

Too much or not enough information, delivered too early or too late, risks leading to excessive reactions or a misunderstanding. Time management is critical. When it is not adequately studied and analyzed, an unfavorable context can obscure the content of the message. This is why you must carefully choose the time and place to promote understanding and share your message.

Criteria and standards

Without defining standards and policies for communication, communication cannot be effective. As a leader, it is your responsibility to make your staff understand the company’s demands regarding how they communicate with others.

Establishing a communication policy to be followed by all employees is necessary for two reasons. First of all, it reduces as much as possible the sharing of false information, which could cause delays in the deadlines. Also, it will help to erase the communication barriers between employees due to different reasons such as experience and background or even culture.


Fortunately, yes! Everyone can improve the effectiveness of their interventions (written, oral, behavioral). However, the road to effective communication is not an easy one. To be effective, you need a professional coach to teach these principles to you on a one-to-one basis. Like the Nigerian proverb says, “You can’t feed a starved child in one day.” The process takes a lot of learning for you to be effective.

The concern, however, is that training is not of much use if you do not practice what you have learned. Therefore, you must be ready to question your habits, test, and try different tools or approaches in different contexts to become an effective communicator. John Powell said, “Communication works for those who work at it.”

Training is the key for a new skill to become available. When you learn from a professional coach, you will gradually become better at communicating with people. You will understand when to communicate and how to communicate effectively. Observe what the use of these new skills generates, and as you improve, effective communication in the long term will become as natural to you as speaking.

If you let me, I will put you through all you need to communicate effectively with your team members, starting from the very basics. I will train you while helping you to practice your skills simultaneously so you can become better at communicating. Click here to find out more about how my personalised training and coaching classes can help you become an effective communicator.

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