C3 Speech, By Paulina Chao, 2006/5/13
Mr. (or Madam) Toastmaster. Ladies and gentlemen.
Let me start by telling a situation we might face during the daily life. John, a new engineer in your company, is always late to the office. As John’s supervisor, you feel unsatisfied about this situation. At first, you don’t want to handle this problem, because you think his working ability is very good. You don’t want to affect your relationship with him by blaming him for late. However, you feel angrier about John while he keeps being late. Finally, you loose your patience and talk with John about this problem. He promises that he will be punctual next time, but still fails. Under this situation, how to make an effective communication? Today, I’d like to talk about three ways help you to make an effective communication.
Firstly,” Decision”. How to decide whether a communication is needed or not? From your viewpoint, John is a good worker and you have good relationship with him. Should you discuss about the problem of lateness with him? The tool to evaluate is you should review your reaction. When people are unhappy and bothered by something, even they choose not to discuss it, their facial expression, body move, and talking will reveal it. The other person can feel your dislike without understanding why. This will affect your relationship slowly. If you find that your attitude towards John becomes unfriendly, perhaps you should decide to make the communication.
Secondly, “Definition”. To define what the real problem is can make the communication more effective. When John is late for the first time, you should talk with him about the problems content. That is “you’re late and I hope you can improve it”. When John is late for second time, then, you should talk about the pattern. “You promise that you will be punctual, but you break your promise. This hurt your credit and it’s hard to trust your words next time. When the problem repeats, then it’s time to discuss about relationship. You should point out that it will affect your relationship with him. Most of people will keep talking about content only while the problem repeats. It’s very easy to turn the communication into blatter just like mothers do. Using the “definition”, that is whether the problem belongs to content, pattern or relationship, I call it CPR, can help you solve the real problem. So, to get your head right before you open your mouth.
Thirdly, “Emotion”. Emotion Control. We all know it’s very hard to control the emotion before and during the communication, especially when we’re angry. The anger is very easy to turn the communication into fighting. According to a research called “attribution studies”, which found most people are not familiar to find the reasons for the problem. People are apt to conclude the problems come from the character. When John keeps being late to work, you start to think John is someone unpolite and rude. This makes you even angrier. If you want to make an effective communication, you should control your emotion by controlling your thoughts. It’s better to calm down before starting a communication. How to make it? My suggestion is to think some good aspects and positive stories for the person instead of thinking the bad character. Perhaps John needs to send his daughter to school every morning, and that’s why he is late. Maybe you can think some good suggestions after understanding the truth. When we think the positive way, it’s easier to calm down and make an effective communication.
Let me just run over the three key points you can use before an effective communication. They are “decision”, “definition”, and “emotion”. To decide whether a communication is needed, define what the problem is and control your emotion. These tools can help us to make an effective communication. Nowadays, we all play different roles in the society, just like you and me. The effective communication can improve the human relationship for us. I’d like to leave you with the following thought – doing some preparation before the communication can make it more effective. So, well prepared!