If you feel like your communications are falling through the cracks, chances are you haven't established a strong connection with the person you are speaking to.
It helps to lead with influence rather than authority. If you are influencing with your good character, knowledge, and the relationships you've built, you will be heard. But it's important to listen in return.
Active listening is a vital component of making strong teams. It ensures that both people in a conversation are getting the full and accurate meaning of what is being said, creating a more productive work environment. Listening carefully can compel workers to understand assignments they are given, and know what is expected of them.
So how do you apply this to your work life? Focus.
Maintain eye contact: Direct eye contact makes the other person feel like they have your undivided attention. This will encourage them to communicate confidently and hit all the important points they wanted to share with you. Breaking eye contact often and continuously looking the other way implies that you are either bored, in a rush, or just don't care. And that's not good for business.
Control body language: Sit still while listening. A nod of the head can be good when you agree, or use it to acknowledge a statement. Grinning or frowning can confuse or intimidate the other person, ultimately creating a major distraction for them. The more comfortable they feel with you, the more likely they are to communicate clearly.
Reduce Distractions: Just say NO. Stop checking emails and scrolling through the latest report. If you are doing anything other than listening, chances are you are ignoring tip one and two. Finishing the other person's response before s/he gets to it themselves won't help either. Rushing through talking points will only discourage and lead to miscommunications and inefficiencies.
Paraphrasing: Articulate that you understand. This will help to align the communication between you and the other person. Make sure you are on the same page by checking if you understand correctly.
Let me know how it goes! Post your questions in the comments.