From Your Boo to Your Boss, These 7 Tips Will Improve Your Overall Communication
A few years ago, a friend and I decided to collaborate to take his idea and grow into a business. From the beginning, we agreed: our goal was a Kickstarter campaign as a springboard to greater things. Outside the typical hiccups common to any scrappy two-person team with a small dream, our efforts went swimmingly.
Well, almost all of it.
It turned out that while our communication efforts were solid, my own communication wasn’t. Ultimately, it was to our detriment: not communicating my reservations about our high price point led to keeping them the same, resulting in an unsuccessful Kickstarter.
The Importance of Everyday Communication
Whether inside or outside the office, with your boss or your best friend, or with those you happen to cross paths with, effective communication is paramount. It can be the deciding factor in getting a raise, smoothing over a disagreement, or getting an opportunity you didn’t know was there. This makes it one of the most important skills you can have. If you find yourself slacking in this department, a few small changes can make a massive difference in how you get yourself across.
Let the following seven tips guide you to becoming a better, more confident everyday communicator.
1. Immediately Grab Attention
One thing clickbait has taught us: the value a punchy headline has in capturing attention. Take that same lesson into your everyday life: if you don’t capture your audience’s attention in the first 20–30 seconds, they’ve probably checked out.
In the spirit of clickbait, craft a compelling introduction that leaves your audience wanting more.
2. Think Like a Director
Convey what you want to say through stories, but don’t forget the cardinal rule of a good one: show, don’t tell.
The more visual imagery you incorporate, the easier it’ll be for your audience to generate vivid imagery, too, which in turn is easier to remember. And in this remote age, using visual aids is a very easy move. So, every time you speak, don’t be afraid to bring out your inner Spielberg — your audience will thank you later.
3. Reduce, Reduce, Reduce
Have you ever had an amazing story to tell or a relevant point to make but when you did, it fell flat?
It was probably because you didn’t follow the rule of reducing your message to it’s most essential. People make this mistake all the time, thinking more detail equals a better message.
That’s just flat wrong.
The most important part of your message is the message itself — don’t get caught up in the fluff.
4. Speak Like a Snail
One of the most common errors of communication is trying to speak 10,000 words a minute, something that usually happens due to nerves.
To mitigate the jitters, slow your speech to a snail’s pace. While it might sound too slow to you, listeners will find it to completely normal. In addition, you’ll be better able to vary your delivery, cut filler words, and give yourself more time to think!
5. As Curious as a Cat
Instead of focusing on being interesting, focus on being interested.
One way to do so is by posing questions. This will keep the conversation going and demonstrate that you’re interested in the message being communicated rather than yourself. Don’t be the person that talks all night!
6. To Convince Others, Convince Yourself
Audiences are clever: they’ll notice the slightest aspect of you that seems off. So, if you’re not 150% invested in what you’re saying, chances are they’ll notice that, too. Keep in mind that a lack of conviction can diminish a message being made or, worse yet, prevent it from being made at all.
Conviction is both physical and verbal, so it’s important to do things like:
- Stand up straight
- Offer strong handshakes
- Keep your hands visible
- Make eye contact
- Project your voice
And with communication being conducted remotely, it pays to adapt the previous tips to our new paradigm:
- Sit up straight
- Speak clearly, slowly, and enunciate well to overcome any potential audio distortion
- Refrain from moving too much/move only when necessary to convey meaning
- Wear appropriate clothing
- Use technology to better get across your message
This was the tip I didn’t follow in communicating with my business partner: had I been more confident in what I needed to say, things could have been different! In the end, though, it helped me realize the value in being your message’s biggest fan — and the importance effective communication holds in every moment where it’s necessary.
The smallest moments often have the biggest impacts, so practice these tips and you’ll see how much your own personal and professional life can change as a result!