If you want to become a better communicator and learn how to communicate effectively, you must use the FACT elements.
The FACT elements are a set of items put together by life coach and author Kevin Charles in 2017, and it is an element that deals with how people communicate. They were derived while researching and writing an e-book entitled “Digital Communications Etiquette” (check out the review here). As we have moved further into the digital universe, our attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions have taken a significant turn, as they pertain to communication.
Despite the convenience technology has provided, there are glaring issues; but, one crucial problem remains––fixing communication problems. Communicating is something we do all the time. At work, at home, in the shower, even in our sleep, we are always communicating.
Why is communication important?
It is something we regularly do, and it continuously evolves. Digital media has helped make things so convenient, and if you try to explain a concept that takes more than 8 seconds, you will lose most people’s attention. The data on attention highlights the importance of needing a balance between communication and digital technology.
As of recent, technology has become something that people have abused over time.
With digital improvements, information at our fingertips, social media, and a plethora of networking sites, there is so much to consume on the internet. While we are having a blast in the digital-verse, face-to-face communication and communication in general, is taking a significant turn in the wrong direction.
We always want to be connected, which has led to many changes in how we do things and how we process information. These changes have manifested into:
- Shorter Attention Spans
- Poor Interpersonal Skills
- More irritability
- Poor Self-Image
- Poor Boundaries
- Unrealistic expectations
From the previously mentioned list, it sounds like we were dealing with some mental issues and trauma. A significant concern is that it appears that people no longer care to communicate “properly.” We have an apathetic, “oh well” sort of approach––and everyone’s affected by it.
The FACT elements put things back into perspective by outlining the basic human desires when communicating personally and professionally. Although we are not always consciously aware, these elements are still at work in one way or another.
How to communicate effectively
What does effective communication look like to you? Does it look like telling someone what you need from them, and receiving it? Does it look like coming to an agreement when two people are having opposing perspectives? The truth is they all are versions of effective communication.
In contrast, poor communication skills can lead to you finding yourself in a bad break-up, or you might screw up that meeting with a client or a potential mate, etc. Ineffective communication can affect a lot of areas of your life.
Effective communication requires a lot of moving elements in cohesion, for both the speaker and listener. When they are present, each person has an opportunity to give and send information from their perspectives.
Speaking and listening are two ways of information travels. Open-mindedness, listening skills, and being able to express your thoughts and feelings are just a few things that are needed to communicate effectively.
We can sit and have an entire post based on the multitude of ways to communicate effectively. For now, let us look at the parts of the FACT elements, which outline four main components of digital communication.
What are the FACT elements?
Here are the four elements of FACT.
F – Feelings (Your mentality + your emotions are the driving force of the message when talking.)
A – Attention (The modern-day drug, that everyone wants to have)
C – Consideration (Thinking about someone else & how they might feel)
T – Time (No one likes their time wasted, but people do want a reasonable ‘expectation’ of time to respond)
Who created the FACT Elements?
The FACT elements were created by life coach and author Kevin Charles to improve digital communications.
What are the FACT Elements about?
The FACT Elements are a collection of important factors considered in the way people communicate. They are used in both in-person and digital communications.
When and Where was the FACT Elements created?
The FACT Elements came about between 2015 – 2017 in New York through research, surveys, and investigation. These indicators were significant factors in the way people chose to respond, the time it took them to respond, and their feelings toward responding to calls, messages, etc.
Why were the FACT Elements created?
The FACT Elements’ purpose was to give people a better understanding of people’s desires for communication. These elements account for the main parts of exchanging information digitally.
Conversations via text, phone, and sometimes video were the platforms studied. These elements are universal and apply to the average communication, and created to serve as a guide to improving effective communication skills and making communicating standardized.
How were the Fact Elements created
The FACT Elements developed from research and analysis of over 1500 people. A survey was conducted to analyze which parts of communication people deemed necessary. These four elements received the most choices from survey participants.
When NOT in person, the FACT Elements provides the four most basic principles necessary for having a productive conversation with someone through digital means.
Let’s dive deeper.
The FACT Elements
The first element deals with how you feel when you are going into a conversation. Feelings can set the groundwork for effective communications; say, for example, the tone used in an interview. Or, if you are upset and are texting a friend, you may subconsciously bring that energy into the conversation.
Feelings matter in having effective communication because a person may be more likely to want to respond to you quickly if you are upbeat, engaging, and considerate when communicating. People’s feelings often change.
Therefore, it is vital to be aware of the changes and not take things personally if someone is not in their best state (mentally or emotionally). Hopefully, you will get the same respect in return. This helps build effective communication skills.
As the most coveted part of the FACT Elements, this element is what people all continuously crave. People want to be attended to and do not like being ignored or given partial attention. The reason for this is that attention is desired, and it now becomes a priority in digital communications.
Does it feel good when someone is not paying attention to you while on the phone? No. The truth about this element is that it is a MUST-HAVE toward effective communication. You cannot have a productive conversation without attention. The main caveat of attention is, just because you give it doesn’t always mean you’re going to get it.
This aspect, though often overlooked, is essential to the FACT Elements. A lot of people forget to have this element because they are too busy doing other things. Having consideration means being thoughtful to whomever you are communicating.
For instance, you were anxiously awaiting to speak to someone, and they were unable to get back to you. In a conversation, the person says, “Oh, hey sorry I was swamped, I didn’t get a chance to do XYZ.” Now, hearing this after the fact can be very devastating, especially if it was something that you were waiting for them to finish. The only difference is that the person chose to respond and give you an update.
Consideration can be a simple text or call to let the person know that plans have changed or that you do not feel like being bothered at the moment. It does not HAVE to happen, but when it does, it helps to make a smooth transition when dealing with people.
You are allowed to be rude and ignore people since there could never be any established ”rules” to communication. Still, it may backfire when it is your turn to get some information from someone, and they do not respond accordingly or leave you on reading. Rudeness + rudeness = lack of consideration.
The last element that dictates what is happening in a conversation is time. The time spent on a conversation matters, the time it takes to respond to a text or call does matter. If you are a busy person, it will be hard to get back to anyone as soon as they might want. Sometimes, you may not want to be bothered, and you do not wish to give a person any time.
On the receiving end, this may not feel good because all people want attention (in some way). If a person is interested in communicating with you, they would want to know if you could spare some of your time. The book “Digital Communications Etiquette” (Check out my review here) outlines four priority levels that show people’s importance based on the time it takes to respond to their messages.
Of course, the most important people are at the top priority level; as the levels work their way down, we get to those people who do not matter at all to you. Time is included as a part of the FACT Elements because it dictates how much time is spent, how long you take to respond, and how long you are willing to wait on someone if you are engaging in digital communication.
Effective communication takes time, effort, and practice to achieve. It is not something that happens overnight because we do not have the same communication styles or understanding. Effective communication allows all parties to speak, be heard, and to listen to others.
The FACT elements outline the four most essential factors in digital communication. These four elements (feelings, attention, consideration, and time) were the most chosen elements from a survey about digital communication.
FACT elements help you to communicate effectively based on the most essential things in a digital conversation. With knowledge of these elements, effective communication should be attainable.