How to Get What You Want Through Effective Communication

Provided by the International Finance Corporation

Effective communications implies choosing the proper format to communicate the right message at the right time.

Get what you want through effective communication with the following tips:


Focus on WHAT you are communicating before the HOW.

  • Be authentic.
  • Illustrate your point with inspiring examples and stories.
  • Be consistent in your messaging.
  • Take responsibility for what you communicate.
  • Find common points in your arguments to reach a better consensus.
  • Respect the opinions of others even if you do not agree with them.

When giving or receiving feedback:

  • Provide feedback only on behaviors, not the individual. For example ‘I have noticed your delayed arrival at work three times this week’ instead of ‘why are you late?’
  • When you give feedback, pause for 30 seconds after to give time for the individual to think about your feedback and ask questions.
  • When you receive feedback, listen attentively, ask questions for clarification, acknowledge feedback and reasonable points, and set a timeline for addressing the feedback.

In a meeting situation:

  • Choose the appropriate context and setting.
  • Identify the introverts in a group. Make a point of asking for their input.
  • Probe to find out what is bothering those who exhibit hostile silence in a meeting.
  • Rotate leadership for meetings.
  • Ask open-ended questions to stimulate discussion in a meeting.


  • Assume people understand your message. Communication is a two-way exchange of information. Check periodically to ensure that your message has been received and understood correctly.
  • Ignore reservations, perceptions and emotions that others may have with your idea or message. Listen to, acknowledge and address concerns to gain support.
  • Overuse e-mail. Instead, pick up your phone or go directly to the person, if you can, to discuss in person important matters or areas of concern.
  • Monopolize the conversation. Instead, create the space for people to step back to listen to you and understand your needs. Check their understanding. Invite them to speak to indicate how they can help meet those needs, if they can.
  • Say no before listening to the whole request and exploring if you can say yes to some or all of it.
  • Say yes when you cannot mean it. Instead, flag constraints constructively and articulate alternatives as to what you think could make sense in the situation, all the more if you expect the same from them.
  • Let extroverts or senior members of a group dominate a discussion.

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