Here’s a communication tip that’s helpful in most situations: meetings, negotiations, confrontations, learning a new skill, you name it.

The key to all clarification is reiteration.

Stephen Covey says it like this, "Let me write to you or tell you what I think I heard you say, and let me know if that is what in fact I heard.” This reiteration takes about 10 extra minutes, but it's profound what it can do.

Here’s a practical example:

Santa says to you (his chief elf), "Hey, we’ve got to craft a strategy for our upcoming quarter regarding a plan to get all of these presents to the kids on the Nice List before Christmas hits."

You, the chief elf say, “Ok, so what you’re saying is we need to work longer hours this week to ensure we get all of the presents out. Then after our deadline, work on a Quarter 1 strategy to more efficiently prepare for next year's Christmas season. Did I hear you correctly?

Santa replies, “Wow couldn’t have said it better myself. Here’s a Christmas bonus check."

Reiteration is the gateway to clarified communication. Try it sometime.

(photo via ryan t)