Two weeks ago we talked about how to improve your written communications in your business, as well as in your life. Today I’m following up with a couple of tips about communicating face to face or over the phone.
One of the biggest complaints about communication is that people don’t know what the person they’re talking to is trying to say! Whether it’s because they danced around the actual topic or issue or got so wrapped up in telling the story they forgot to get to the point, we all need to work on our clarity. If it’s an important conversation with a boss or partner, pre-write the bullet points you intend to cover. Don’t get to the point so quickly or abruptly that you’re rude, but most conversations and points don’t require the whole back story. If you can master this one step, learning how to communicate with clarity, you’re well on your way to being a successful communicator.
Take some communication, public speaking and personal interaction courses. Many local adult/night schools offer classes that can get you started. Another great idea is to work with a coach. Whether you work with a general life coach to help you with your confidence, or you find a coach who can help you specifically with your communication, they can be very helpful.
During the conversation say ‘yes’ or ‘ok’ so they know you’re listening. If it’s an in-person conversation, nod your head and look at the person, consider smiling at them too. If you’re in a listening position, not a discussing conversation, wait until they’ve finished their thought to give them verbal feedback. If you’re having a discussion, stop worrying about your side of the argument and actually listen to what they have to say. Another major part of giving feedback is asking for clarification, and repeating back to them what they said. By rephrasing it and asking for clarification you can hopefully avoid some of the mix-ups, problems and relationship blow ups that happen during discussions.
No matter what, the only way you will become a better communicator, no matter how many blog posts you read or classes you attend, is with practice!
No matter what, the most important thing about communication is that you do it! As you practice communicating more frequently and effectively, you’ll naturally be communicating more. Initially, don’t worry about the finesse of your communication, focus on actually communicating your point and listening to what they have to say.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on communication and what has been the most important or helpful thing for you! Share your thoughts and ideas below.