Effective communication is a skill that most people, especially those in a position to influence others, should learn to cultivate. Most people think that having solid communication skills means being a great speaker, but it’s also about learning to listen, watching body language and interpreting the gaps in a conversation.
Here are seven powerful ways to build your communication skills:
Be concise and clear. Many people say what they want to say then repeat themselves over and over again. Understand that you were likely heard the first time—and if people aren’t listening it doesn’t matter how often you say something. It’s always more effective to be concise and clear. Honor the gift of people’s time by getting to your point quickly and clearly.
Be thoughtful and considerate. Be mindful of not dominating the conversation. When you speak, pause to let others ask you questions, and ask them questions in turn. Don’t let what should be a dialogue turn into a monologue.
Be attentive and observant. A great communicator pays attention not only to what is being said but also to the nonverbal cues people sending. It’s important to understand the things that aren’t said.
Be understanding and curious. People are often too quick to reply when they listen to someone else, which leads to shallow responses. When someone is speaking, take the time to understand and ask questions. Listen to truly hear, not to pass the time until you can talk again, and wait until the person finishes speaking before you reply.
Be present and available. Don’t bring up past problems or irrelevant side issues; stay focused on the current topic or situation. And especially if the conversation is tense, look for ways to keep things positive instead of adding fuel to the fire.
Be calm and collected. If you feel angry or frustrated, avoid saying something you’ll later regret by making sure you’re calm and in charge of yourself before you speak. Don’t allow your emotions to overtake the conversation.
Be positive and optimistic. No one likes to communicate with someone who’s negative and complaining. Even if the issues are thorny, try to think of positive and affirmative ways to communicate. You can talk about problems or talk about solutions—the choice is yours.
To be a truly effective communicator, it’s important to remember that we’re all different in the way we perceive the world. Use your own understanding as a guide when you listen to others, and always be mindful of what you say and how others will perceive it.
Lead from within: Communication is about human connection; it’s the key to personal, career and leadership success.
#1 N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
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Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.