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Spotlight on Walden // Jan 02, 2013

Communicating Effectively in the New Year

Some studies suggest that by making a New Year’s resolution you are 10 times more likely to succeed in reaching your goal. But there’s a difference between simply resolving to do something and actually doing it and doing it well.

For many who are making a resolution to move up the corporate ladder; get a promotion at work; or even interact better with family, friends, professors and otherprofessionals in the new year, one way to succeed is with effective communication.

So, how can you become a more effective communicator in 2013?

According to Dr. Annie Shibata, faculty member in Walden University’s BS in Communication program, one of the first steps is to be more self-aware so that you can better understand the situation and your role in the conversation. Dr. Shibata suggests a few questions to ponder to help you evaluate your self-awareness when communicating:

1. What is my communication goal?

Consider short- and long-term goals as well as what action, information, or commitment you want now and in the future.

2. Am I deliberate and conscious in how I communicate?

Be conscious of both your oral and written communication. When speaking, the total impact of a message is about 7% verbal (words only), 38% vocal (including tone of voice, inflection and other sounds), and 55% nonverbal (e.g., bodylanguage).

3. Do I know who my audience is?

Be aware of cultural differences, potential disabilities, or learning challenges that may exist within your audience.

4. What nonverbal messages am I communicating?

Consider how you sit or stand, your facial expressions and how you’re dressed. Again, most of the messages we send other people when we are speaking are nonverbal. People form 60% to 80% of their initial opinion of a new person they’re meeting in fewer than four minutes, so your nonverbal messages count.