How understanding these hidden elements could be the key to effective communication

Tanja Heffner at Unsplash

When it comes to effective communication, speaker and listener both share equally in the responsibility of communicating. Communication is a two-way process that involves both how we send and receive messages.

Improving communication starts by understanding that our personal filters determine how we package a message (the information we send out), and, conversely, how others receive or decode the intended message. As soon as we are cognizant of how we filter and distort the information we receive, we are better able to take responsibility for listening more effectively.

Subliminal messaging?
From the time we’re born, we learn to communicate. Most of us think of communication as consisting of the words we use, but the truth is that only seven per cent of what we communicate to others is made up of the actual words we use; in fact, a whopping 55 per cent of what we communicate is non-verbal (body language, eye contact). The remaining 38 percent is vocal, which includes things like pitch, speed, volume, and tone of voice.

Despite this, we often consider ourselves effective communicators if we are eloquent speakers, focusing consciously on the initial seven percent – leaving the remaining bulk of our communications to our unconscious minds.

Only seven percent of what we communicate to others is made up of the actual words we use.

Getting the message across
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Eloquence is the power to translate a truth into language perfectly intelligible to the person to whom you speak.” Each of us has a complex set of perceptual filters that we use to sort through information. These can also act as barriers to communication. These filters include:

Emotion: a listener’s emotional state will dictate their reaction to, or willingness to accept information.
Culture: a person’s origins or upbringing can have a huge influence on how a message is received; for example, it could be that their native language may not contain similar words or concepts.
Situational Context: environmental factors – including how the message is delivered – can have an impact on how a message is perceived. Temperature, noise, (dis)comfort can all detract from a message.

Personal Beliefs: these are the world map of how we listen, perceive, and interpret information.
Keeping these filters in mind enables responsible communication – carefully-chosen words can transcend the above filters, and it is at this point where effective communication is achieved.


Funding Sources

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( I was asked today to repost this article – enjoy!!! )

A couple of years back I was at an ONEIA breakfast where KPMG and IRAP made terrific presentations. The focus was on SR&ED and IRAP funding.

All of you probably know about The OMDC but in case you didn’t, follow the links above for some interesting information.

In addition here is a great resource – The Funding Portal. And their Blog! Enjoy !!!


Sun Tzu’s legendary Principles of War – Applied to Business


When you think of Sun Tzu and the Art of War, what comes to mind? Do you think 6th-century warriors, battlefields and an epic battle between good and evil? No? Well, good. Despite its rather grim title, the legendary tome addresses and outlines the appropriate strategies for battle – on the field and of the mind – in short, how to win the battle of wits. Author Pete Mosley takes some of the great tactician’s Principles and breaks them down into present-day work/life hacks.

The Master Principle
The selection and maintenance of the aim. This means that first of all you are to establish clearly what your objective is to be. Once this has been determined precisely you should not allow yourself to deviate from the plan of action you have made.
Tl;dr: Focus on your goals.

Maintenance of Morale
To achieve your aim, you will require high morale from your peers, hence look after them and their interests. With good morale, you will create the will to achieve your aim. Good morale can be hard to create and can be even harder to maintain so take it into consideration when planning.
TL;dr: Keep your head up, and your eyes on the prize.

Offensive Action
Move forward. Be bold and confident. Tread where others have not. Be one step ahead of your enemy (the competition). Never become complacent.
Tl;dr: Blaze your own trail.

Do the unexpected. Come up with a new and well thought out plan. Avoid doing “the same old thing.” Ensure that your competitors have no idea as to what you are doing or planning.
Keep’em guessing.

Keep it to yourself. Use the need to know the rule. If someone does not need, they do not have to know. Why lose the element of surprise?
Hold your cards close to your chest.

Concentration of Force
Use your resources carefully and at the right time. One good presentation is better than many poor ones.
Haste makes waste.

Economy of Force
do not burn yourself and your resources out. Try to keep an ace up your sleeve. Do not use a sledgehammer when a gentle tap will do just as well.
Slow and steady wins the race.

So what if the original “Master Plan” does not work or has a temporary set-back. Find an alternative. Maintain morale throughout. If you look hard enough you will find another method to achieve the aim.
Tl;dr: If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Do not do everything yourself. Employ the skills of others and let them use your skills. Help others and be willing to be helped.
There is no “I” in team.

All of the above will require sound administration to work; should you become a casualty your peers can take over and achieve your aim for you. In other words:

It doesn’t hurt to have friends in high places.

You shoot, you score! Why you should make goal setting a priority!

I strongly believe you can’t manage people, you can only manage their commitments. One way to do this – for yourself or others – is by goal setting.

According to, goal setting is “a motivational technique based on the concept that the practice of setting specific goals enhances performance, and that setting difficult goals results in higher performance than setting easier goals.”

So, what’s the easiest way to set goals for yourself?

Put it in writing

Everyone should write down their personal goals. ”Goals propel you forward,” say the good folks at “Having a goal written down with a set date for accomplishment gives you something to plan and work for. A written goal is an external representation of your inner desires; its a constant reminder of what you need to accomplish.”

Whether working for yourself or others, setting goals can then be incorporated into an action plan to achieve the short and long-range objectives. The first step in setting personal goals is to consider what you want to achieve by a particular time.


As you do this, make sure that the goals that you have set are ones that you genuinely want to achieve; make sure that you also remain true to yourself.

A program of tracking and charting progress be developed to assure personal scorekeeping. suggests using the SMART method as a way of making your goals more powerful:

S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Relevant
T – Trackable

Mind also suggests that instead of having “earn my first commission” as a goal, it’s more powerful to use the SMART technique to make the goal more concrete. “To have completed my first client sale of $250 or more by December 31, 2015.” Simple as this tweak may be, the entire SMART method is covered in just one statement.

Put them to good use

Tracking and charting is most effective when developed with the input and commitment of the users and the results are used for appropriate recognition and correction. In a team environment, for example, if someone misses their target, their written commitment shouldn’t be used as a toll for belittling or berating them.

A written goal is an external representation of your inner desires; its a constant reminder of what you need to accomplish.

There are many other benefits to tracking and charting goals, which include

  1. Identification of quality and effectiveness standards
  2. Establishing expectations
  3. Generating feedback
  4. Avoiding problems
  5. Providing information

In a team setting, when paired with solid management can deliver growth, productive teams and help foster a feeling of collaboration. When used on a personal level, not only will growth be a positive outcome, but also a clarity of vision and perhaps the chance at a much more diverse and rewarding career.


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Hone these soft skills to give yourself a competitive advantage in business – and life


Have you ever noticed that certain people always seem to have an “edge”? They might not be the smartest, the richest or any of those things we associate with success…and yet, they always seem to do well for themselves. What is it about them? What gives them that edge?

While we may not have had the lucky breaks nor the trust fund to propel us into the societal/social stratosphere, we’re not imprisoned by our social standing. And I think everyone – if they choose to work at it – can achieve a competitive edge.

Here’s how:

Respect everyone

Treat people with respect. All people. Full stop. If you believe you are no better than everyone else it will shine a light on you. It will open doors for you and it will change how you approach life. Humility is vastly underrated and true humility is irresistible.


It is not about you. It is about the other person. Treat people like they want to be treated. Seek out signals from other folks. If they are quiet and subdued offer that in return, if they are joyous give that back to them. If they are contemplative be that too. Take your cues from the people you are with. Take their lead.

Avoid idle chatter

Don’t engage in gossip. As the adage goes: small minds talk about people, average minds talk about things and great minds talk about ideas. Don’t get trapped in the minutiae; always aim to elevate the conversations.

Be present

If you are at a party, put away your phone. If you are out for lunch, put away your phone. Hell, just put away your phone. Engage people, be in the moment. Look around you; how many other people are on their phones? I rest my case.

Be authentic

Just be yourself – everyone else is taken, they say. Be authentic. Don’t try too hard to be someone else. Changing is not the same as acting. Be real. Be you.

Be honest

Never lie. The best thing about always telling the truth is you never have to remember what you said. And never lying is an integral part of integrity. Be someone people can count on.

Be miserable – just keep it to yourself

Smile. No one really wants to engage a sourpuss. Smile; you will be surprised at how easy it is to do and how easy it is for people to engage you.

Look sharp

Dress better than everyone else – but do not overdress. I always say dress like someone your clients would go to for advice.

Remember the big picture

The final advice is to never fall prey to the “Black Dot.”

What’s the Black Dot? Grab a blank sheet of paper and place a black dot in the middle of it with a marker. I have one of these framed and in my office. I look at it all the time. People see it on my wall and “What’s that?”

In return, I ask them, “what do you see?”
Most – if not all, reply, “a black dot.”

I tell them that black dot represents everything that’s going wrong with my life at the moment. “I’m having a bad day; I got up this morning had an argument with my wife, the cat jumped on the table as I was getting ready for work and spilled coffee on me, and so I had to go and get changed. Then I got stuck in traffic on the way to work, and I was super late. I lost my debit card last night and don’t have a dime on me.” And so on and so on. Poor me, right?

Everyone can achieve a competitive edge – if they choose to work at it.

Every time I find myself with an all-access pass to the pity party, I look at that picture and remember that the white space is everything that is right with my life. I have a great family, a nice home, a new car, a job and a career (I’ll leave my feelings about the cat out of this for the moment) that I love, and I have my health.

So how about it…take my advice and give yourself an edge. It’ll all make a difference. It’s worth it!