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It's Not What You Say, But How You Say It (and 4 Other Effective Communication Tips)

Posted by CLIMB Professional Development and Training on July 03, 2019

woman giving motivational speech

In work and life, effective communication is a critical piece to successful relationships, leadership, and growth. There are communication challenges that can trip up any professional — like reacting instead of responding, treating everyone the same, or assuming your message is understood. And today’s many outlets for communication — like email, text messages, social media, and instant messaging — can actually make communication more complicated, rather than easier.

In this post, we’ll take a look at some wise words that offer practical advice for effective communication.

5 Quotes to Inspire Effective Communication

1. Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you know.”

Jim Rohn, American entrepreneur, author, and motivational speaker

In other words, it’s not just about what you say, but how you say it. You can be well-versed in the subject at hand and have extensive knowledge to impart. But if it stops there, you’ve only partly done your job.

Effective communication is as much about feeling as it is about knowing. To be an effective communicator often means being persuasive, which requires being mindful of nonverbal cues and the ways in which emotion and empathy influence how a message is received. Daniel Goleman, author of the bestselling book Emotional Intelligence, explains that effective communication includes reading the “emotional currents” among your audience and fine-tuning your message accordingly.

2. “Information is giving out. Communication is getting through.”

Sydney J. Harris, American journalist

Similar to Jim Rohn’s advice about the emotion involved in communication, Harris’ lesson emphasizes the importance of the exchange and prioritizing who you’re communicating with, as much as, if not more than, the information you’re providing.

What does this look like in practice? It’s about staying tapped into your audience. Are they responsive to your message? What is their body language telling you? A puzzled or concerned expression can share that clarification is necessary, while relaxed, easy postures can indicate everyone is on board. However, don’t jump to conclusions. Invite questions and feedback to ensure that you’re “getting through.”

3. “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright, critic, and political activist

Building on the quote above, Shaw’s assessment captures how communication is truly a two-way street. Without feedback from your audience, you have no way of knowing that your message has been received in the way you intended. Perhaps you believe it was delivered loud and clear, but the core meaning was lost or misinterpreted.

A crucial part of effective communication includes not only asking for comments but actively listening to your audience’s opinions and viewpoints. Never assume that you have been understood.

4. “Speak when angry, and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.”

Dr. Laurence J. Peter, Canadian teacher, and best-selling author

While it’s important to tap into the emotions of your audience when attempting to persuade, it can be fatal to your message if you allow your own emotions to take over. If you receive feedback in opposition to your argument or idea, resist the impulse to respond too quickly or in anger.

Instead, take a deep breath and thoughtfully consider any pushback you receive. Sometimes resistance may be based on a misunderstanding and can be resolved by clarifying your intent. Other times, space is needed for ideas to sink in and emotions to settle. However, it’s always a mistake to react in anger, especially in professional environments, as it can shut down communication entirely — both in the immediate context, and future settings.

5. “Communication works for those who work at it.”

John Powell, English composer

Effective communication is a skill, and like any skill, it takes time to develop and requires practice to master. Be mindful of your communications with colleagues and take note of which techniques work and which ones are less effective — or worse, are conversation (or idea) killers. Recognize that, as with most things in life, there is always room to grow and improve when it comes to your communication style.

Strengthen Your Communication Skills at PCC CLIMB

Developing effective communication skills is critical to your success in the workplace, and PCC CLIMB offers a variety of professional development courses that can help you become a better communicator. Register now for our upcoming half-day communications workshop, or check out other courses centered around communication skills.


The PCC CLIMB Center provides a variety of professional development  training. Just some of our courses include leadership, sales, customer  experience, online sales and management, IT and software, and  communication. Our top priority is to help you and your team reach your  full potential. We offer open enrollment classes for individuals seeking  their own professional development and contract training for organizations.

Topics: Professional Development, Leadership

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