Whether you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert, you will find that in most business situations, effective communication skills can mean the difference between success and failure.
Daily interactions with co-workers, a manager, and vendors can have vastly different outcomes depending on the communications skills that you exhibit. Career advancement and professional growth can also be impacted by how well you communicate.
For many individuals, talking to people seems natural, however their relative comfort while interacting with others does not make them an effective communicator. Think about it: I’ll bet you’ve engaged in conversations with certain people who speak authoritatively and are energetic in their speaking style yet they do not seem to be in sync with you. (I hope this doesn’t describe you!)
Needless to say, effective communication is easier said than done.
Here are 5 tips that will help you be a more effective communicator:
It is impossible to listen carefully to someone while speaking at the same time. Interrupting means you will miss important parts of a conversation. It also signals rudeness and lack of concern for another person’s words. Effective communicators allow the other person to stop talking before jumping in with their own comments. If interrupting is a “must” then first offer an apology and make certain that what follows is important and relevant enough to have caused the interruption.
Think before you speak
Of course, there are conversations in which you don’t have to be as careful with your choice of words and the manner in which you communicate. These conversations are few and far between. Whether you are having a business or personal conversation, it is always important to think before you speak so that you don’t find yourself backpedaling or clarifying your words.
Be a good listener
This one goes hand-in-hand with the first tip. It’s imperative that you listen carefully to what the other person or persons are saying so that you will be able to better gauge how to respond. Remember to listen not just to the words but also the tone and manner in which they are said. It is possible that an individual’s tone of voice will completely contradict the words that are being said, in which case you must react to the tone and respond accordingly.
Accept feedback graciously
In business as in life you won’t always receive the type of response you seek. Regardless it is critical that you listen to and acknowledge the feedback given to you. There must be an understanding on your part that you recognize some validity in what is being said. Cutting them off and reacting negatively or even aggressively will quickly end the dialogue and potentially close the door to additional communication of any type.
Be confident but not boastful
An effective communicator will demonstrate confidence in what they are saying; they will be careful not to cross the line whereby their confidence sounds arrogant and off-putting. Confidence comes from being prepared. Don’t try to stumble through a response; instead, remark confidently that you don’t have the information but will be certain to investigate further to get the answer.
Most importantly, be self-aware of how you sound and the response you are getting. If you are surprised by the reactions you frequently receive, you just might need to reevaluate your personal communications skills and seek a tune-up
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