Communication; such an essential, yet often underrated and ignored skill. Be it your personal or professional life, effective communication lies at the heart of achieving success. But it doesn’t come naturally to everyone, and some just have to work on it that bit harder.
We’ll keep this really simple, and offer you 6 simple tips to take your communication game to the next level.
Know your message
What is it you wish to convey to your audience? What action or response are you seeking from your audience? Is there something they specifically seek from you, or that you can provide them? Understanding your objectives will help shape your communication style and make you more effective.
When talking to groups or individuals, the temptation is strong to keep talking and talking in order to drive your point home.
Human beings are social animals. Understand your audience. Listen (truly listen) to what they’re saying by way of their reactions, body language, and emotions. If you want someone to listen to you, you need to listen to them, and tailor your message so that it suits their needs. After all, your audience needs to be actively involved as well if your communication is to be effective. This isn’t a one-way street. Which brings us nicely to our next point.
Read body language
If you are in an authority position, it might be difficult for you to coax a response out of your audience. Your subordinates just won’t be as open with you as they are with their peers, and so you must try and read their body language as best possible. We give off a whole range of responses without saying a word, be it through tapping our feet rapidly, folding our arms, pursing our lips, failing to meet eyes, leaning forward, and so much more. This is a non-stop stream of information; observe it closely. Because sometimes, it’s just as important to hear what hasn’t been said as what has been said.
Pay close attention to the pace of your speech, and if the audience is tuned in to what you’re saying, or if they’ve zoned out already (admittedly, this is a challenging task if your audience awaits after lunch on a Friday afternoon).
Slow down if needed, and change the volume and tone of your voice, to emphasise or underplay something as needed, before heading into the next part of your talk. And if there’s a crucial point you’re looking to convey, repeat it if need be a few times to ensure it remains a key takeaway.
As a communicator, you can have the most important message, thoroughly tailored to your audience’s needs. But if you can’t connect with them emotionally, the battle is lost. How you make your audience feel is as important as what you say. When communicating, most put on a persona, but the opposite should be true. Be honest, be open, be transparent; show your audience your passion, and watch them get swept away in your talk. Express yourself, and reap the rewards of it.
Cut the jargon
Junk the jargon. All those business metaphors are no good, and can make you come off as seemingly insincere. Do away with it. Use a simple test; is this something you’d say to a friend, if you were conversing with them on this very topic? Or better still, is this what you would listen to if you were on the receiving end? If the answer is no in either case, what makes you think you think your audience would? Be human, because it’s relatable.