Specializing in social marketing and business communications training

The Top 10 Communication Tips of the Year

Communication is at the core of all of our relationships, both business and personal. 

Let’s take a look at 10 defining moments in communication. You’ll recognize some because they made news. But I believe you’ll relate to all of these tips and lessons. 

1. Your attention is a hot commodity. Back in the dark ages of 1971, Nobel Prize winning economist Herbert Simon wrote: “What information consumes is rather obvious. It consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” Did Simon have a crystal ball? How did he know the attention tsunami was coming? In ’71, there was no Google, information superhighway, or text messages. Carefully guard your time, attention, and mind.   
2. The word “I” doesn’t have to be self-serving and arrogantArt Petty, who runs a management and leadership consulting firm, says we can use the word “I” for empowerment, active listening,  and accountability. “I am responsible for this outcome.” “Here’s what I understand about your opinion on this matter. Am I correct?” “I could use your help.”
3. Understand the emotions of communication in marketing. Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why writes about ‘The Golden Circle’ and how most companies and people try to sell their ideas based on what their product or service is. Then they talk about how it will work. But the most successful are those who are able to connect with the public on an intimate level. These folks begin at the center of the circle. That’s where the ‘WHY’  resides.  The ‘Why’ creeps into the core of a lifestyle, emotion, and belief  that people latch on to. The ‘What’ and ‘How’ come later.   
4. Whoever has the message has the power. This is what social media has become in the past year. The news and the way it is consumed has changed significantly because of technology and Twitter. The immediacy of real life can be broadcast around the world by someone with a flip cam or cell phone. An angry customer at the Hertz counter in Florida suddenly puts on his ‘news hat’  and reports on shoddy customer service. You don’t need the media to capture the public’s attention.
5. Communication must be H.O.T. That’s honest, open, and two-way. That’s according to business writer and blogger Dan Oswald. He says the H.O.T. approach is an effective and powerful force. Amen, Dan. 
6. Bullies suck. Criticizing, judging, and making people feel bad sends negative energy into the world. We have too much of that. Common sense and common courtesy in our communication—in person and online— is always appreciated. Snarky comments and dirty looks are included here. Remember, mean people have little mean people.
7. Rapport is critical in conflict and camaraderie In our ‘crazy busy world’, it’s essential to know how to connect and engage with all types of people and personalities. This  is especially true if you want to resolve a conflict and build consensus. Rapport is the bond that brings us together. 
8. Authenticity is priceless.  Just ask executives at BP, Toyota, and Goldman Sachs. And those who hold elected offices, too.
9.  Influence comes in many different forms. It may be a quick Tweet, a blog post, a speech, or a handwritten note. Our words wield power. With social media and other technology, be aware that your influence (impact) can affect people in other countries. People you’ve never met and never will. Choose your words carefully.
10. Embrace a creative community.  Being shy won’t serve you well in our interactive, engaged world. This year I’ve learned to appreciate that life demands our participation. Force yourself to learn, watch successful people, and develop your own creativity and style. Meet one person at a time to build confidence. You must begin now or you will be left behind. 
There’s always time to learn. 


P.S. Here’s a free communication resource for you. Take advantage of my 21-day video series, “Speaking of Communication.” It focuses on interpersonal communication, social media, blogging, public relations, and sales. The sign-up box is on the top right of this screen. 

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  1. I love the idea of thinking about communication as being H.O.T. The concept is essential for effective communication. It doesn’t mean that you will be able to avoid all communication problems with this approach, but you will at least be able to avoid a significant percentage!

  2. Spot on with the H.O.T. communication. I will bring that back to my communication team and use it as a “guiding light”.

    Would be interesting to hear your comment on marketing and communication tips for 2011. We just completed a blog post on this subject of marketing/communication trends 2011 – would be interesting to hear your input on the subject. Maybe you have som enlightening additions?


  3. Great communication tips. But I have a problem with number 10. Being an introvert doesn’t mean you can’t be engaged with the world. Being an introvert just means you need time alone to recharge your batteries, refresh. Many of us are “social” introverts that are engaged and still use our alone time to its fullest.

    • Hi Paul,

      I gave some thought to your feedback and realized that introverts and extroverts need alone time to recharge. To me, introverts are those who shy away from being the center of attention and are a bit more aloof and quiet. It makes it difficult for them to be engaged.

      Thank you for reading, and for your insights.


  4. I love the idea of thinking about communication as being H.O.T. The concept is essential for effective communication. It doesn’t mean that you will be able to avoid all communication problems with this approach, but you will at least be able to avoid a significant percentage!

  5. Excellent article. As an introvert myself I used to think I couldn’t be an entrepreneur but since I know my top 5 strengths (thanks to kadena of http://www.e3woman.com) and using them to stand in my own power I know that as I continue to grow with continued coaching I’ll be able to fully stand in my own power and thereby give others permission to stand in theirs.


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