I guess it’s not really a matter of earning the right to celebrate Effective Communications Month, but rather what are you doing to communicate effectively?

There are a lot of bad communicators out there – heck, that’s what keeps me in business. Are you one of them? Are you the bad communicator that makes others feel unheard, belittled, dismissed, confused, angry, annoyed, and so on?

Use this checklist to evaluate how effective your communication skills are:

  • I establish shared meaning first. I avoid assumptions and confirm what I heard is what someone meant before I respond.
  • I listen with my eyes and my ears. I pay attention to gestures, tone, volume, etc.
  • I ask lots of questions. I use questions to fully understand the situation or a person’s point-of-view before affirming them or offering my advice.
  • I am fully present in conversations. I’m not distracted by other people, tasks, or demands.
  • I don’t withhold my ideas, thoughts, or feelings. I take responsibility for my communication, engage, and contribute appropriately.
  • I don’t push my ideas, thoughts, or feelings. I avoid dominating conversations and meetings and openly listen to others.
  • I am empathetic. I validate a person’s experience or idea even when I disagree.
  • I say what I mean and mean what I say. I am clear and direct with the words I choose without compromising respect.
  • I adapt the way I communicate based on context (e.g., cultural, historical, inner, relationship). I look beyond my own context and choose communication behavior that considers the context of others.
  • I adapt my communication approach depending on who I am communicating with. I understand there are a variety of communication styles. I look for clues and am flex how I communicate based on those clues.
  • I use body language that is congruent with my intended message. My gestures and posture match what I mean.
  • I play verbal volleyball. I am adept at two-way dialogue that goes back and forth.

I’m not even sure who created this month-long focus on communication, but as a communication expert, I have to say, I like it. I really really like it!