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Alissa Owsley

When I was in college, one of my professors asked me what I wanted to do after graduation. I said, “I want to get paid to teach...without being a teacher. Is that possible?” Soon thereafter, with a degree in Speech Communications from Missouri Southern State University, I launched a career in corporate learning. And I haven’t looked back! I love watching personal development collide with real-time business results. And I love that in today’s crazy, fast-paced business world, where new ideas happen at the speed of light, corporate learning is helping drive company strategy. With over 13 years in the industry, I have honed specialties in the areas of adult learning, change management, learning program development, and instructional design. With these skills, I hope to change Leggett & Platt one “ah-ha” moment at a time.

Communication Tip #5: Change Your Perspective

ChangeYourPerspectiveI saved the best for last. If you’ve been reading this Effective Communication series, and for whatever reason you only have room in your brain for one of the five tips, this is the one to keep: change your perspective. This sets great communicators apart from good communicators. The very best leaders and managers display this trait.

Poor communicators use themselves as their standard for speaking. When they talk, they say what they want to say as if they were their own audience. They wrap the message around their own perspective, and their true audience is forced to decode and interpret a difficult message that often ends up distorted.  This video really hits the nail on the head when it comes to this idea:

Great communicators cater their message to the audience. That perspective shift ensures the message will be received how the sender intended. It sounds simple enough, but it takes some work. Continue reading

Communication Tip #4: Know Your Non-Verbals!

Your boss calls you in for a one-on-one meeting. You walk in to her office and sit down, noting her clenched jaw and furrowed brow. You’re immediately worried. This can’t be good. She reaches into her briefcase and pulls out the project analysis you submitted yesterday. As she sets the file on the table, she lets out a long sigh without making eye contaact. You suddenly know exactly what this meeting is about, you know exactly how your boss feels about it, and you have a strong suspicion that you’ll be spending some time redoing the project. All in a few seconds, without a single word being spoken.

Non-verbals slide 7

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Communication Tip #3: Get to the Point Already!

 This is the third tip in on ongoing series on becoming an effective communicator – read the others.


ABullseye360x220ttention spans get shorter and shorter. We receive news reports from 140-character tweets and 30-second YouTube videos. Anything longer has become so hard to get through! If you want your message to be heard and understood, you have to make it brief and get to the point.

One way to do this: avoid circumlocution. I realize I just used a big fancy word, so let me clarify: Circumlocution is using a lot of words when a few will do. It’s when you plan a route from Los Angeles to San Francisco by way of Atlanta, Georgia. It’s when you take a long, winding scenic route to get where you need to be – when a quick, straight road could have been used in a fraction of the time. Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty is a circumlocution expert; he’s famous for never getting to the point:

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Communication Tip #2: Quiet Your Inner Monkey

Quiet Your Inner MonkeyResearch estimates that we begin formulating a response to a message when we have heard less than 15% of what someone else has to say. Think about that: A whopping 85% of communication is spoken while we’re distracted by our own inner voice.

This inner distraction is a serious communication roadblock, so I felt compelled to give it an appropriately serious name: I call it the Chattering Monkey Syndrome.

The solution is simple: Quiet your inner monkey!

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Effective Communicator Tip #1: Avoid B.S.

Avoid BS Heading Image - SmallCorporate best practice entails leveraging the synergy of elastic communication in human capital to maximize ROI efficiency gains at the corporation in terms of the holistic enterprise.

If the previous sentence took five minutes to slog through and made you want to smash your computer screen with a hammer, it’s because it was chock-full of B.S. – or what many refer to as “business speak.”  And business speak is toxic to effective communication.

Departments often use unique processes and systems, and those unique processes naturally tend to develop their own slang terms – be it words, metaphors, or acronyms – that people repeat over and over. And eventually, people start using those words casually in everyday conversation. But while the terms make perfect sense to a select few, many people don’t understand them!

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How to Become an Effective Communicator: The Communication Loop


Think about what you did at work yesterday; make a mental catalog of the work-related activities that occupied your time in the last 24 hours. Be specific. Did you get sucked into the world’s longest email chain? Did you have a hit-and-run hallway conversation with your boss? Did you sit through yet another mind-numbing meeting? Or maybe you finally got around to accepting all the LinkedIn invitations that have been clogging up your inbox? Regardless of the task, I imagine they each have something fundamentally in common: communication.  Continue reading