Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Writers: Be a Good Communicator

A Round Tuit

My family has a mini knickknack box that we hang on the wall. It’s a display of teeny Native American pots filled with tiny flowers, and glass, porcelain and metal replicas of iddy-biddy animals. And a little round “tuit.” What's a "tuit?" Any job that you don’t complete---no worries, you'll finish as soon as you get a round “tuit.”

That’s the way some people approach communication. You know this person: he owes you an answer to an email, a request for help or even just a call-back, then gets lost. You might hear from him, you might not.

What kind of communicator are you?
Here are some tips to keeping close ties with your associates:
  • Get organized: Often when someone doesn’t respond to you quickly you learn that they’re unorganized. And, of course, you can forgive them. When I first got organized I realized that it’s a separate function from creating. It took a "time-out" and the first "time-out" took days. Once done, though, a routine can be established and you will find that you have become amazingly more productive.
  • Prioritize: Keep one calendar and in it make a long-term to-do list and a daily list, and accomplish the items by the most important first, one by one, in other words: prioritize. Before you know it, a new habit is formed and you've left the old way of operating behind and forgotten.
  • Replace #1 with #2: This should come easy to writers--when I first started writing one of the first lessons I learned: decide who your audience is and offer some kind of help to anyone who reads your work. It was an early wake-up call, that to write successfully you must put your reader first.
  • Be a good listener: Have you ever talked to someone who asks you a question? You feel flattered and enjoy answering. As soon as you're finished speaking, however, the person launches into their own story: the one they've been dying to tell you. You talk to enough people like this and you can see in their body language that they're just waiting for you to finish. So, I cut my answer short to let them speak. But if their story goes on too long then I find an excuse to leave or even interrupt them. These are not good listeners. A good listener remains silent and doesn't speak right away when you've finished. When they respond it's usually NOT a story about themselves, but is an actual response to what you've said, often enlightening you with new information that is helpful to you. In my travels, I have found this quality rare, indeed.
  • Be a friend: This is the bottom line and I do believe people sense this if you're sincere. If you can't add to the conversation, remain silent. I may be preaching to the choir here, but we can learn so much when we let others talk. We as writers can develop this skill and I've found people respond to it. They may never learn anything about me in the process, which often happens, but I figure if they want to get to know me they can read my work! Then maybe they'll listen to what I have to say!
It's Not all about You
This point is made in the article, "10 Ways to be a Better Communicator." For more tips, please refer to the article at http://www.success.com/article/10-ways-to-be-a-better-communicator.

Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 100 articles for adults and children, and six short stories for children. Recently, she completed Joyce Sweeney's online fiction courses, picture book course and mystery and suspense course. She has currently finished her first book, a mystery/ghost story for 7-11 year-olds, and is in the process of publishing it and moving on to new writing projects. Follow Linda on Facebook.


Terry Whalin said...

Linda, great article on communication. Thank you. This skill is a critical one for writers and anyone in the publishing business. With the volume of submissions and the overworked editors and agents, it's typical to hear nothing or take a long time to hear any communication. It's one of the reasons I spend a lot of time every day sending simple emails or responses. My commitment to continued and consistent communication is a simple way to standout from others--and something anyone can emulate.


Karen Cioffi said...

Linda, great article. With the short attention spans and online-everything, it seems people, including writers, have forgotten some very important communication skills. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

Linda Wilson said...

Terrific, Terry! Hopefully people will follow your example. Thanks for writing!

Linda Wilson said...

Thanks, Karen. Being a good communicator makes a person feel good, too-- fulfilled even!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

And do you do a good job, too!, Terry!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Gotta be honest. When I prioritize, important things get lost. I try to get to stuff as it hits my email box. Awful!

Linda Wilson said...

Ha, that's understandable. I can only picture how jammed your inbox would be if you didn't do that! I suppose there are exceptions for every rule!

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