The Six Honest Men

Communication lies at the heart of all human relationships – personal and professional. It is a dynamic process involving the active participation of both the speaker and the listener. It is important to work towards building an effective channel of communication for any personal or professional relationship to succeed.
In this article, we will see one unique but effective method of eliminating the barriers to communication and help you become a better communicator. Rudyard Kipling, the famous author of ́The Jungle Book ́ had penned an inventive poem called “The Six Honest Men”.
“I keep six honest serving men (they taught me all I knew); Theirs names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.
Questions are THE answer when it comes to effective communication. The simple but profound question words of Why, What, When, How, Where and Who can open up several barriers of communication and resolve many underlying problems. Questioning is a powerful tool in communication and everyone must adopt the practice of questioning in their daily lives. Here are some ways how ́The Six Honest Men ́ or questioning can help improve your communication.
Think before you communicate
Whether you are speaking or writing, always think before you communicate.
• ‘What am I trying to communicate to the listener/s?’
• ‘Do I understand completely what I am trying to communicate?’
• ‘What are the different possible ways of interpreting my message?’
• ́When is the best time to communicate?’
• ́How can I keep my message simple, effective and easy for retention?’
Check Your Understanding About Their Understanding
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken Place.” – George Bernard Shaw
This illusion is one of the biggest barriers of effective communication. Don ́t assume that your listeners or audience have understood you well. You can use ́The Six Honest Men ́ approach to check understanding periodically during the course of your conversation. Instead of asking close-ended questions which typically elicit a ́Yes/No ́ answer, ask open ended questions like:
• ́Why do you think this program is successful as compared to the rest? ́ or
• ́Why did you like or not like about the experience? ́.
You can not only check if the audience has understood your message, but you can also receive important feedback using this technique.
Some ‘Don ́t’ as a Speaker and Listener
There are some basic dont ́s of communication in one ́s role as a speaker and listener. As a Speaker the don’t that will help us are:
• Don ́t make the mistake of assuming that your listener understand you.
• Don ́t use inappropriate language, verbose words and jargons, extrapolated or distracting gestures, fidgeting and making the questioning process seem formal and examination-like instead of being casual and natural in style.
As a Listener the don’t that will help us are:
• Don ́t switch or tune out of the conversation, change the topic, jump to conclusions but constantly keep looking for the bigger picture and context
Hope you found this useful and will help you to become a better communicator.
The Communication Skills with Humble Inquiry is a popular program at Crossover Leadership Journeys and if you like to know more please mail on or Whatsapp/Call on 8688910359
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