Being a good communicator isn’t just all about you; it’s also about making others feel valued, listened to and involved.
No matter how good at communicating you may believe you are, in those moments we hold the attention of other we can experience a crippling gremlin, we call him “nerves”. Nerves can make us behave in odd ways and they always seem to appear at just the wrong time – during interviews or important pitches.
Nerves have a nack of derailing us, affecting and even changing the grasp of our native language.
So how do you improve your communication skills?
Below are a few things you can do to improve your interactions and to keep those nerves at bay.
Make people feel valued
Make a mental note not to talk about yourself unless directly invited to. Be the one that asks the questions instead. When someone tells you they are about to go on holiday to Spain do not say “Really? I’ve just come back from …” communication is not about competition.
It’s much better to ask: “Which part of Spain” or “Have you been before?”
Directing the conversation away from you will help keep those nerves at bay. Also making people feel valued is not rocket science. It’s about asking questions and listening to their replies. When you end the conversation, refer back to something that they have said, this shows you have been listening and shows interest. Allows you to grow we connections with those you are speaking to.
Make it relevant
Nerves are often a sign of a worry or disbelief in what you are about to say. Unfortunately, as much as you try, this will show in what you are saying so if you want people to listen to what you have to say, you have to add value and have confidence in what you are talking about. You have to give them a reason to listen to your message and one of the best ways to refer to what they may have previously spoken about and tell them what is in it for them or how it will help them. Here are some bullet points on engagement;
- Pose a question – to make them think (e.g. “Would you like to get more customers?”)
- Case and story – Stories work particularly well to illustrate an example. So rather than going straight in with a hard pitch, you could tell a story about how you supported or helped another customer.
- Tell them the actual benefits – What customers actually got from you.
- Make them react– Get them to do something, like follow you on LinkedIn (where all your connections and recommendations live)
- Follow Up – Agree to follow up on a point or two via a preferred method and make them expect you to do something in return for them doing something for you.
Make people feel human
Sometimes you forget that clients are human too and we must speak to everyone as we’d expect to be treated.
Well, we start by using casual, comfortable language. This will help you to sound authentic. This is particularly important when under pressure at work, in front of others as using words we normally use will make us feel more relaxed.
In a technological world where electronic communication has almost taken over lives, it is most important to remember whenever we speak online, via email that there is a human on the other end and so respect and communicate as you would in person.
The trick to getting rid of those nerves, improve your communication skills and how you can “get it right” is to remember the following;
- Make them feel valued
- Make it relevant
- Make it human
- Respect one another