Some people command the attention of the room from the moment they begin speaking, captivating their audience, having them sitting on the edge of their seats with every word. These are the great communicators. They have learned how to powerfully convey a message and keep their listeners engaged. Others may have thousands of followers on social media.
The ability to communicate effectively with superiors, colleagues, staff and customers is essential, regardless of your industry. Workers in the digital age must know how to effectively convey and receive messages in person as well as via phone, email, and social media. It is essential to know which form of communication to use based on the situation.
An important part of being a great communicator is being a great listener. There is little value in being the person who only cares about speaking and sharing their thoughts and opinions without concern for others’ views and ideas. If you are not a good listener, it will be hard to understand what you are being asked to do, whether it is a task or help.
Put in the effort to practice active listening. This requires paying close attention to what others are saying, asking clarifying questions, and rephrasing what the other person is saying in your own words to ensure you understand the context and intent of what is being said. If you do not understand the message, you cannot respond appropriately.
Your body language, hand gestures, tone, and eye contact all affect the message you are sending. A relaxed, open stance and a friendly tone make you appear approachable and encourages others to engage with you. Eye contact is equally important; it demonstrates that you are focused on the other people in the conversation. A note of caution about staring, though–it makes others uncomfortable. It is also crucial to pay attention to other people’s nonverbal cues. This offers insight into what they are thinking.
Great communicators know to say just enough; they do not say too little or too much. They convey their message in as few words as possible, clearly, and directly. When you speak too much or do not get to the point quickly, your audience will tune you out. This is true in person, conference call, or email. Therefore, you must always prepare in advance to help keep you from talking excessively or confusing your audience.
Be friendly. Through a smile, a personal question, or a warm tone, you will encourage others to open and communicate honestly with you. It is important to always remember to be polite. When you can, try to personalize your communications. Doing this makes the recipient feel valued and cared for.
Be confident when you communicate with others. Be vulnerable and tell personal stories. This lets others know you do not believe yourself to be above them but instead shows you empathize with them. The confidence shows you believe in your vision and them. The empathy demonstrates you feel the pain points you are looking to resolve. Even in difficult conversations, you need to respect the point of view of others.
The best communicators enter every conversation with an open mind. Being able to listen to the other person’s point of view allows you to have a better understanding of the issue at hand. This is particularly true when you disagree because you will better understand the other point of view.
It is understood that respect is earned. People will be more willing to interact with you when you show respect for them and their ideas. Simple actions, like using their name and actively listening, make them feel valued. Avoiding distractions puts them at the center of your focus. This helps make you a great communicator.
The most excellent communicators listen to the people they are working with or for. They understand the pain points. They have valuable solutions–and they thrive.
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