Great Communicator Quiz

Great Communicator Quiz

It is damn hard to have success in business if you are a lousy communicator. Oh, it happens but it’s usually painful and in spite of the limitations not because of them. The best leaders are excellent communicators. That does not mean they espouse rosey metaphors, pure truth or speak melodious or authoritative tones. In fact, you need not always agree with or be convinced, conned or sold by one for he or she to be a great communicator.

When I teach Communication Skills as a path to success I always begin with a group self-assessment so before this brief quiz on Communication Excellence I’ll ask the same question. How do you grade yourself as a communicator? Scale of A to F, consider both written and spoken, peer as well as up and down the authority tree. Are you an “A”? Probably not, but if not, why not? In order to be exceptional as a communicator there usually needs to be more skills present than are generally taught. Some have better skill intuitively or instinctively, some have learned through experience but even the great masters of communication usually have some area they are yet to conquer but are open to improve.

Here’s how to score, give yourself a 5 for Excellent, 4 for Good, 3 for Average, 2 for Fair and 1 for Need to Improve. Sorry to send you back to school but who’s done learning and tough as it can be measurement is critical to success…

Are your written communications are very clear, timely and always direct or inspire action?

QUESTION 1 Score: _________

Are your written communications are very clear, timely and always direct or inspire action?

QUESTION 2 Score: _________

Do your emails create consensus and direct follow up or do they create chains of questions, concerns, are ignored or get other replies that deviate from the original intention?

QUESTION 3 Score: _________

When you address a group in a meeting or presentation are your points made concisely with no more words than are needed. Do you make it clear to all with images or metaphors, straight facts and are the words well considered or do they start in your mouth and then stop by your brain?

QUESTION 4 Score: _________

When you manage performance (or are managed) are you courteous and considerate while still being complete? Does your conversation stay focused on performance issues or do you find the other person trying to move the issues or not hearing the third point because they stopped listening after the first point? Do you find yourself thinking what you should have said after the fact?

QUESTION 5 Score: _________

Are your conversations always adult to adult or do you find yourself sometimes sounding like your parent, or when you hear criticism do you sometime use the same strategy to defend yourself you did when you were a child? Do you get rational or emotional replies?

TOTAL: ________ out of 25

How did you do? If you are a 25 for 25 you should stop reading and go write an article on what makes you excellent, I’m sure you have great lessons to share. If you got 10 or less then you probably already stopped reading thinking this was stupid and you won’t waste your time! If, however, you are like most of the world and are somewhere in that average to good range then here’s four strategies that are sure avenues to improve.

Strategy 1

On any formal communication use the “Super C’s” checklist (if you get good at it use it for informal communication and conversation as well). Review your communication to see if it is Clear, Correct, Courteous, Complete, Concrete, Considerate and Concise.

Strategy 2

Recognize that now matter how long you pour over your thoughts and words, edit, correct and articulate as the presenter of information (formal or informal) you are the Tin Man. The Wizard informed him that a heart was not judged by how much he loved, but by how much he was loved by others. Likewise for communicators. You are not judged by what you put out but by what is received and understood.

Toward that, appreciate the “Communication Wheel” that informs us that when we break communication into three elements, Words, Tonality and Physiology, the percentages of impact are far from what you likely expect when you are pouring over every word in a speech or evaluating what you are sure you just said. Only 7% of communication comes from the words we use, 38% comes from the tone we use and 55%, the majority of impact, comes from physiology or the physical presentation.

It makes sense if you think of it this way. Take a sentence, any sentence. Using the same words can you express it with anger, with confusion, with delight? Likewise can you express yourself without any words? If you looked at a video of someone speaking with no sound could you tell when a person seemed angry, confused, delighted, etc. How we use our body with emphasis, expressions, pace, pitch, posture do more to deliver the comprehension of our messages than the words.

Strategy 3

Understand that when it comes to the words we do use there are clues as to how people better understand and process information. The world is made up of people who are dominant learners either as Visual (29%), Auditory (34%) or Kinesthetic (37%), or a combination, that is mixed learning styles (30%). Whether a person makes sense of the world better through sight, sound, touch or a combination, there will likely be clues you can learn to pick up on. This is more important with relationships and is also a skill we teach salespeople to help them make their prospect more comfortable and receptive.

The clues can be in the words, if a person says “show me,” or, “I’d like to see…” that’s a difference compared to the “tell me about…” person or the “I feel…” clue you get. Know that those types have strategies. For a visual, get to the bottom line, the auditory wants it fully explained and the kinesthetic is influenced by metaphors.

Strategy 4

You don’t have to be a psychiatrist to learn how psychoanalysis informs communication. The Transaction Analysis model that evolved from Freud’s id, ego and superego states that there are three communication states, Parent, Adult and Child. While not literal this model suggests that if you had a critical parent as a child you adapted a strategy to deal with that. Likewise with a nurturing parent or another child. Adult state is about direct rational response to the here and now.

Think of the times you have seen professional people bickering at each other as children would. Or the boss who criticizes like a parent and the reactions it sets off. We can all have these kind of tendencies on occasion but real communication happens only when it is Adult to Adult conversation. Unfortunately for the success (and the world), that is often sorely lacking, particularly when the stakes are higher but listen at home and at work and chances are you will hear plenty of exchanges sounding not very adult. Learn how to present as an Adult, react as an Adult and move others not in that state to Adult and you are on your way.

©2019 MyEureka Solutions LLC. For help with your COMMUNCIATION or other BUSINESS THERAPY insights contact or follow Tom @TomFoxTrainer, on LinkedIn or at His recent book: Business Therapy: Ideas and Inspirations To Help Build Sales, Leadership, Management, and Personal Performance is available on Amazon.

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