Some people seem to be “natural” communicators. Their thoughts and words are always coherent and spoken in a natural, confident and compelling manner. Their “style” prompts their audience to “lean in”, whether that audience is comprised of 1 person or 1000.
Being a good communicator is an important skill to have, and regardless of how proficient you already are, you can be even better.
Here are three suggestions for how you can enhance your communication skills:
Always Be Prepared
Good communicators prepare in advance of presentations and meetings so that they can express themselves in the most effective and convincing manner. Much like a skilled baseball player that practices so intensely that it looks easy to field ground ball after ground ball, you must also prepare when you know you have to give a speech, run a meeting or simply have an important conversation. It’s best to plan exactly what you want to say and to practice it too. The more you prepare and practice, the more comfortable you’ll be and your self-confidence will draw-in your audience and help them to listen more attentively too.
Be Conscious Of Your Body Language and Facial Expression
Unless you are burdened with delivering bad news you should always attempt to smile pleasantly when communicating with others. This doesn’t mean that you have a huge grin pasted on your face, but rather that your mouth curves upward and your overall facial expression is open, pleasant and receptive. The same holds true with your body language. Crossing your arms over your chest, leaning back while at a conference table and avoiding eye contact are ways that you communicate negativity. Be cognizant of your gestures, sit or stand up straight and don’t fidget. First impressions count!
Be a Good Listener
Good communicators listen effectively, don’t monopolize a conversation or meetings, and know that people will tune out if they don’t feel as if they are being “heard” when they raise a point. Be patient and allow others to express their thoughts.
Although many of you may never have to give a “formal” speech to hundreds of people or be in the position to do large presentations, all of us communicate every day with co-workers, clients, vendors, friends and family members. The need to have good communication skills as outlined herein is equally as important when meeting with one-to-two people as it is when addressing hundreds.