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How to improve clarity during conversations

Misunderstandings can be common in professional or personal settings. It’s all too easy to have conversations and both parties walk away with a different understanding. Of course, this isn’t ideal for any relationship. It can lead to arguments, but it can also lead to lost business when dealing with customers. So, how do you improve the clarity within these conversations? African hr manager listening to caucasian applicant at job interview

Get to the point. Try to keep yourself from going off on tangents. Stick to what message you want to deliver. Provide enough information that the customer will understand without providing so much that the customer loses track of the point.

Use common language. Avoid jargon. Stick to more simplistic language, instead. You don’t know your customers’ background or level of understanding, so it’s essential to speak in a way that most people understand.

Don’t make assumptions. Help avoid misunderstandings by gaining clarity yourself. Reiterate what you hear your customer asking for to ensure that you meet their needs.

Use bullet points when emailing. Customers are more likely to look for the message’s key points rather than read through the whole thing (especially if it’s a long email). So, to help prevent them from missing important details, use bullet points. This can help them find the essential topics in a flash.

Ask your customer if they have questions. Don’t assume your customer completely understands your message. When you’re done speaking, ask them if they have any questions.

Clarify your message. When the conversation is ending, take a minute to summarize what transpired during the conversation to ensure that there aren’t any misunderstandings before you close.

Include resources in written conversations. Send them over if you feel that specific resources would help provide better clarity to the customer. But, don’t add attachments without explaining what the attachment is and why you’re adding it.

Ask an open-ended follow-up. Before ending the conversation, ask customers or professionals if you can help them with anything else or if they have any other questions. If you may have misunderstood something or the customer didn’t tell you everything the first time, it’s good to ask this question before ending the conversation. It can help ensure that they leave satisfied.

Misunderstandings happen for several reasons. For example, sometimes, a person doesn’t understand what a word means. Other times they make assumptions, etc. That’s why it’s essential that you know what your customer is saying and that you also provide clarity in everything you say.

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