By Nan Nan Liu-Maffetone | Strong Female Leaders | Target Audience: professional women, women in leadership roles

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Ever sat through a conversation, speech or meeting and wonder,"what is the person's message?" In most communication models, the message is the main talking point, usually conveyed verbally or through writing, from the sender to the receiver. The best message in communication is simiple, clear, and direct. If you can't get the sender's point right away, usually within a few seconds after the person starts talking, or within the first paragraph of his or her writing, you should start contemplating on how to ask for clarification. And if you are the sender, then learn to sharpen your delivery, starting with following tips.
1) Polish your message.
Just like with well-dressed professionals, well-spoken and well-written professionals gain more respect and attention from their audience. You don't need to speak or write like Dickens, but do polish up your message with spelling and grammar checks, diligent proofreading, and trimming the extras.
For verbal communication, think about what you want to say and how to say it before opening your mouth. Reduce filler words and pause when appropriate. A little polish goes a long way. Not only will it help you professionally, it also gives you a boost in confidence and finesse.
2) Simplicity trumps fancy vocabulary.
The best writers write with a seventh grade English level. The best communicators use simple words. Even if you have a vault of extravagant vocabulary to choose from, use them selectively, and only to prove a point. Otherwise, do your audience a favor and keep the message simple, brief, and easy to absorb.
3) Prepare for meetings.
When meetings go off track, your team loses valuable time. Eventually, the team loses faith in you as a leader. To avoid this from happening, make the effort to prepare well. Construct your message and talking points, create an agenda, and leave room for discussions and questions. When you prepare well, you are more likely to stay focused on the message, and keep everyone else focused on it as well.
4) Use action words.
Words such as "I think," "perhaps" and "most likely" imply a lack of confidence in what you say. If you deliver a message, believe in it first. Then, deliver it with strong, action-oriented words. Saying "I think the data points are good enough to enable the leadership team to believe that...perhaps...we will scale our business next year" just doesn't make as much of an impact as "the upward trend in our data drove the decision to scale our business next year."
When in doubt, trim the fluff. Your message will sound stronger and sharper.
5) Use the P.E.E.R framework.
P.E.E.R is a flow sequence for delivering messages. It stands for Point, Elaboration, Example, and Repeat. Point stands for the point that you want to make. A sharp communicator delivers the point first. Elaboration supplements the point, and often conveys the "why" in your message. Examples give your message substance. It connects you with the audience by telling stories and arousing emotional response. Finally, repeat your point. Summarize all of your talking points and follow it with a clear call to action.
Parting Thoughts
Communication enables us to exchange ideas, understand one another, and create a warm, open and progressive culture. It is the glue that holds teams together, and is one of the most valuable skillsets that professionals attain. As a part of communication, how you deliver messages can either enhance your authority or diminish it. While it takes effort to sharpen how to communicate your message, it is well worth your time.

Need more help? The books below are good resources.
1) How to Win Friends and Influence People

2) Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High
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