Saturday, April 25, 2015

Five Tips For Successful Communicating

We all want to be able to communicate effectively, and the difficulties that arise when we try are pretty much the same whether you’re in any business, or office. Five issues repeatedly come up, and with such regularity that if you can conquer these issues in your own communications, you’re well on the way to becoming a master of the universe. Or at least a clearly communicating one.

1. Our initial instinct is always to argue our case from our own point of view, but the better argument is almost always from the audience’s (or someone else’s) point of view.
It’s a simple point, but illustrative of the challenge we all face: we begin from our own point of view and struggle to get above our own concerns. But if we take different views it adds to our point of view and helps us to prove the point in a diverse way.
2. Even though we know we should tell stories to hold our audience’s attention, because we experience life as a series of events (first this happened, then that happened), our attempts at narration usually take the form of lists and information dumps. It’s hard to impose a story structure on what we want to say. Hard, but essential. We can’t expect everyone else to do the structuring for us. That’s our job. Almost all first attempts at stories have either too much or too little information, and they lack structure.
3. Even the confident speakers are initially closed and defensive in their body language. Speaking in front of a group, in any way more formal than a quick, casual one-on-one conversation, puts people on the spot, and the result is that they get defensive. It takes a lot of training to persuade people to open up. If you want to take a huge jump on everyone else, in other words, force yourself to be open.
4. Training yourself to avoid filler words (“like,” “you know,” “actually,” “really,” “ums” and using “and” as the connector for every sentence you utter), will immediately increase your reputation as a polished performer. Trust me, it’s not that hard! It simply takes attention, and a few weeks of practice listening to yourself and mentally adding the periods at the ends of your sentences. Just do it. Please. If we all clean this verbal litter up, the world will immediately become a better place with no shots fired.
5. The pause is the greatest secret weapon a speaker has. It’s universal: everyone getting communications training believes that they have to fill all the seconds they’re up in front of the others with sound. Don’t do this! Take your time. Put pauses in your speeches. Watch how the audience is reacting. Breathe. React to the reactions. Breathe again. You’ll immediately increase your authority and charisma tenfold if you do.