Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Who you are speaks so loudly I can't hear what you're saying." The man was right. The words that we use matter little, the message that we convey starts and ends with whatever is in the heart. When it comes to communicating, the heart will always prevail over the brain.
With that in mind, it becomes obvious that even before we start formulating a message mentally, care and attention should be given to the motive of the communication and the feelings entertained toward the recipient of that message.
That would be especially important when trying to sell something. The salesperson should question himself as to the underlying motive of that sale. The question should be asked, "Do I want to make that sale to earn a commission or is my basic motive to be helpful to the person buying my product?"
The same reasoning should be used anytime that we are trying to influence someone else. The question then becomes, "Who will benefit from that message? I'm I looking after my own self-interest or am I trying to help the person that I'm talking to?" Better yet, "How can we both benefit from what I'm about to propose?"
The ideal motive for this type of communication would be where a win win situation is sought. Most people are mature enough to understand that a mutually beneficial proposition is usually better than the status quo.
Once this preparatory stage of a communication is done the second step would be to explore and find the best possible way that the object of the message can be easily understood by the listener. Just because we understand the object of our message, it does not mean that our listener will find it easy to grasp what we intend to say.
Before a notion can be understood, it must be supported by some references. Those references are called a priori. An a priori is a reference obtained from past experiences that can be used as a basis to understand a concept that is new to the person. As an example, if we wanted to explain what a tree was to a person who had never seen one, we could say that it was like a giant plant. Now if that person had seen a plant before it would be fairly easy to understand what a tree looks like. In this case the plant would serve as the a priori.
As we said previously, words are meaningless unless the recipient of those words understand what we are talking about. It would seem that this is self-evident. Unfortunately, it is not. Most of us can recall an incident where our accountant was trying to explain something to us. Not being very familiar with words like, equity, and plus value or compound interests, the accountant's message was moot. That is, it was useless unless care was taken to see if we understood the meaning of those technical words.
It is said that the worth of a communication is determined by the response that it gets. There is no other obvious way of judging the quality of our communications. However if it is kept in mind that it is next to impossible to convey a message perfectly, chances are that we'll take the necessary steps to get as close to perfection as possible.
Lastly, it should never be assumed that we were understood. Questions should be asked to verify if the message received is close enough to the message conveyed. If not, further explanation is required. That is, if we truly wish to be understood.
In recap, the heart speaks louder than the brain. Others do not share are baggage of experiences therefore will interpret words, notions and ideas differently. And, lastly, never assume; ask.