Everyone engages in the practice of filtering information when we communicate to others. Properly filtered information provides clarity, brevity, and focus. Information that is improperly filtered leads to confusion and can be misleading. Therefore, how we filter our message is imperative to achieving more influence while maintaining our integrity.

Consider how you filter information to assure your message is accurate, timely, and full of integrity. By doing so, you will be a trusted resource and sought after influencer.

Even though everyone filters information, I do not think that it is always done so as a conscience effort. But if you want to communicate more effectively and gain more personal influence, you need to consider how you filter your communication.

We learn how to filter information at a young age. My kids are excited to share the “A” they earned on a school project, but are hesitant to share the “C” on a test. As we grow older, we learn the benefits of filtering information. Sales people filter their pitch by emphasizing the benefits of their wares and avoid sharing about a superior product offered by a competitor. Employees find it easy to share about accomplishments, but hesitant to share about a potential problem hoping it will not become an issue. Management filters information to avoid unnecessarily upsetting the workforce over issues that present little or no risk to their jobs.

If you want to become a top influencer, consider the following points when filtering information.

  • The Message: A little time spent thinking about and crafting your message pays huge dividends. It helps structure the message for completeness and accuracy as well as determining what information can be safely omitted. A poorly crafted message leaves the recipient confused, or worse, leads them to ask difficult follow-up questions. For more on crafting a message, refer to my previous blog on preparing a message.
  • The Timing: Some moments are better than others. Timing is seldom good when the recipient does not look up from their work. The timing is never good when the recipient is in a bad mood. Selecting the right time to communicate is part of the planning process. Select the time when you will have their full attention.
  • The Motivation: This is all about your motivation. Is your motivation in the best interest of others? Do you have a vested interest that needs to be disclosed? Communicating for personal gain at the expense of others is will likely prove detrimental to you. Dishonesty has a way of coming back against us. Persons of conscious would rather live with integrity rather than facing themselves in the mirror each day.
  • The Collaborators: Should your message be delivered alone? Have others played a role and deserve credit? Today’s business environment deals with complex problems that often require a team to solve. It is imperative to give credit where credit is due and preserve the trust of the team.

How you communicate is imperative to your level of influence. Effective communication requires the practice of filtering the message to assure the right message is delivered. If you take the time and understand how you filter information and make necessary adjustments, you will grow your personal influence.

What are some other suggestions you can share to better filter information?

How You Filter Information Can Impact your Personal Influence

2 thoughts on “How You Filter Information Can Impact your Personal Influence

  • Steve,

    Clarity, brevity and focus are clearly vital to effectively presenting a message, unfortunately these are sometimes used excessively and simply lead to only more confusion. Obviously, it all depends on the message, and the presenter’s belief in, and commitment to, the message they are delivering. Often times listeners walk away from the message with more questions than answers, and as so aptly you pointed out, the message and the timing are critical factors in successful filtering – but no factor thing is important as motivation. Oftentimes the message is intentionally delivered without the “why”, leaving frustrated listeners in it’s wake.

    Only when the presenter clearly identifies his/her motivation behind his/her message can it be successfully delivered, and upon closer examination the speaker may well find their message best left unsaid – for now.

    1. I believe that a person’s intrinsic motivations dictate, to a large degree, the how they communicate.

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