Communication skills, they are such a huge part of your personality. You speak in public with clients, on stage, in a relationship, with family, in community, literally from the time you wake up verbal or nonverbal communication skills are a must-have and have a bigger role in creating an impression.
So how effective do you think you are? Do people always listen to what you’re saying? Do they respond to you as you expect them to? Do you command attention when you speak or do they completely misinterpret your intentions? Because there are so many ways we can miss communicate that makes effective communication skills so much more important.
It should be a subject taught at all levels of education, but it isn’t. So if you are looking to brush up on your communication skills, here are my eight tips on how I get more accomplished and effectively, with just simple communication skills you can too.
Tip #1: Timing
Notice how you’re glued to a 90-minute stand-up comedy show or a certain speech but your attention is not the same in every conversation. Now it is because these stand-up comedians or speakers have mastered the art of timing. All great communicators are able to feel out of their audience and determine when to move to a new topic or when to restate and introduce a new idea.
I learned that if it applies to public speakers it applies to my everyday conversation too. Timing yourself also means not speaking too fast. When you speak at a slightly slower pace you create curiosity and interest.
Tip #2: Find positive Answers to Your Typical Everyday Questions
When you’re asked “How are you?” is your answer “Yeah, hanging in. Okay.” or is it “Terrific, couldn’t be better.”? When you say either of these, you pass on that kind of energy. Think about it when you say okay, what response would you get from the other person? Excitement or drab?
Here’s another typical question “How was your day?”, what do you say “Hate it.” or do you say “Alex, no, today might have been a bit too much but no complaints.” A positive attitude in communication makes me look forward to having a coffee or a meeting with that person.
Tip #3: Get Comfortable Speaking Extempore
You know to write down a series of eight to ten points or topics you intend to discuss. But do not memorize what you want to say word-for-word. Now, this method of communicating allows lawyers presenting a case to cover all the necessary points while giving them flexibility as to how to communicate based on audience reactions or questions.
So say for instance if I was in a meeting with a school principal I just make my notes like full note but register just the main points. Like the school funding, events for students after school activities, etc. That way my conversation is impactful and short and I am prepared to answer questions much better. Instead of “Oh, I had something I wanted to talk to you about completely forgot. I emailed that to you later.” or “I didn’t think about that before let me get back to you on that.” This is related to my next point.
Tip #4: Listening
People who have the ability to really listen to someone can actually answer questions in a meaningful way. So it’s very important.
Tip #5: Get to Know your Audience
To communicate effectively, it is important to get to know your audience first. Each audience is different and will have different preferences and cultural norms that should be considered when you’re communicating.
Now a good way to understand expectations is to ask a few questions to the members of the audience. So say if you’re new to a mom group, ask them “Do you follow any mom bloggers?”, “What do you do on the weekends?”. You will understand their likes and dislikes and take the conversation in a direction that they will enjoy talking about and open up more to you.
Tip #6: Act
We all act. Don’t let your mood dictate how your meeting will go. If you decide to act like you’re having the best day of your life your mind will very well follow what your body is trying to dictate. You thought only your mind can tell your body what to do read my article on How to Feel More Confident for more explanation on that.
Now also set your body language according to the audience. It has to adapt. In a group of women versus on a date versus office meetings or with your kids or when you’re hosting a dinner, just like the tone of your werben language, change your body language too. Talking about tone, my tip number seven is your tone.
Tip #7: Tone
Now anything you say can sound completely different from the tone you use to convey your message. Example, “You didn’t get it? I sent it to you yesterday. Can you check your inbox?” versus this “Do you mind double-checking your inbox for me, please? I’m happy to resend it if you don’t have it now.” The funny thing is sometimes people talking in this stiff tone don’t realize that they are sounding rude and nor do they have any intention to be rude because they have not considered making a few of these changes to their communication skills. They can very easily offend people and not know why the other person doesn’t like them.
Now that’s a whole different topic about why we feel and how to deal with the feeling that “People don’t like me”. Some of you have mentioned this before so let me know if this is a topic that can be helpful to you and I’ll be happy to make an article.
Tip #8: Your Phone
Now, this is my favorite tip of the day. Use your phone. I don’t mean your conversation over a phone call. Your phone can actually help you immensely to improve your communication skills. Record a video of yourself in a mock conversation, see if your body language matches your speech. Create voice memos to listen to how you sound. Do you use pauses like “Uhm”, “Ahh”, “I”? Are you too fast? Too slow? Pitch?
Consider injecting some sort of novel event in your presentation. Nw this could be something funny or something that simply catches people by surprise, but makes you sound very interesting. With a little conscious effort and attention to the way you communicate, you will quickly become more accomplished in your daily communications.
This brings me to the question of the day. What topic related to confidence do you want an article about? Now think really hard because confidence is such a wide topic. Since I mentioned voice, I’m thinking of voice modulation. Let me know your opinion. The more you learn the better.