A simple yardstick for measuring the effectiveness in the context of oral and written communication is to ask three questions: Why, What and How?
If you don’t get an answer as to “Why” (purpose, reason) the person is speaking the subject he is speaking, in all likelihood you would have stopped listening to him.
If the person could not explain “What” all are the factors that justify the “Why” of your speech/talk/conversation, it would not infuse cognition or infuse less cognition in you and in the end your mind would ‘discard’ the talk as ‘unworthy.’
If the person could not tell “How” the ideas explained can be ‘implemented,’ the speech will not have any ‘take away.’ Takeaways are ‘actionable’ points that enables ‘retention’ possible in the mind.
Clarity: Man is called “Vyakthi” in Sanskrit and it came from the root “Vyakthata” or Clarity. Clarity is the essence that determines the effectiveness of any communication and what brings in clarity depends upon how you have handled the three questions: Why, What and How?
Once an expert on “Change” and “Change Management” asked a group of professionals to visualise a car and then asked the individuals to describe their car they visualised. Almost everyone had visualised a different car.
Often the employees don’t have clarity as to what the Vision of the company is and hence unable to ‘align’ their actions with the vision of the company. This can happen due to two reasons: 1) The Vision was not communicated at all to the employees and 2) The Vision was communicated, but it lacked Clarity because the three elements mentioned above were not explained properly.
Desire to Change & language spoken: Often students are taught that in communication there is a ‘messenger’ ‘message’ and a ‘receiver’. But language is not just a medium for carrying your ‘message,’ but it is a powerful tool for ‘creation’ and ‘procreation.’
The message must generate a desire in the ‘receiver’ to change some aspect of life in a positive way. If that happens you can see that the person is changing in his thoughts or deeds. So existence of a change or lack of it is another measurement tool of effectiveness.
The ability to ask ‘contextual’ questions: If you ask “What caused inferior performance of the car in an innovation workshop meant for improving the performance you would definitely get clearly defined answers explaining “Why, what and how.” But you don’t get answers as to “What can be done” to enhance the performance. and hence “Purpose” of the communication is defeated. So learn to evaluate the communication by asking ‘contextual questions.’
Communication, perhaps is the most important ‘survival tool’ nature has gifted to us. Every cell communicates between and among inside our body carrying information that are vital for ‘effective’ functioning. If brain is unable to carry communication to the limbs, the effect is paralysis. When the communication becomes zero inside a body, it ‘dies’. In a dead body, there is zero communication!
This is applicable to relationships too. In a broken relationship of two people who are alive, there is no communication and hence the relationship is dead! Often leadership is evaluated by looking into the results achieved by the leader. But leadership is not about results, but it is about taking care of your people who produce results and a major aspect of ‘taking care’ is through YOUR effective communication. So evaluate that as well as mentioned above.