Talk TO People Not AT People

Rich Habits
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Good communication is just another tool in the tool belt of self-made millionaires. At some point, they figured out how to best communicate with others. The best communication is effective communication – communication which keeps the door wide open for feedback.

Sounds simple. But it isn’t.

When you are running a business or overseeing people, it’s easy to fall into the trap of talking AT people. Talking AT people is what many mediocre business owners and managers do.

When you talk AT someone you are essentially barking out instructions, demands or some course of action you’d like someone to take. There is no opportunity for feedback, no back and forth, no discussion, no brainstorming. It’s a one way conversation that puts up a Stop Sign for discussion.

Talking AT people is efficient, but not effective communication.

Talking TO people, on the other hand, is what successful people do. When you talk TO someone you are engaging them. You are having a conversation with them. You are seeking their feedback, input, ideas.

Talking TO people is effective communication but not efficient communication. It takes more time to talk TO someone than to talk AT someone.

The most successful people are able to combine effective communication with efficient communication. They use small, unambiguous words that do not insult, offend or agitate (the efficient part). At the same time, they leave the door open for feedback by ending with a simple question or statement: “what do you think?” or “if there’s a better way let me know.” (the effective part).

It’s science bordering on art, that requires practice in order for it to become a habit.

When you are a good communicator, things get done the right way.

When you are a bad communicator, things often go awry due to misunderstandings or doing things incorrectly.