If there’s one thing that will put you head and shoulders above your peers, it’s being an excellent communicator. I mean communicating about the good stuff, the mediocre stuff, and the bad stuff. The best leaders in business, all tend to communicate very well, so if you want to position yourself for success, focus on becoming the best communicator in your office.
Below are some of my go-to tips for better communication. Study them, and implement them into your daily routine for best results. The more you practice them, the better you’ll become at naturally doing them.
Put yourself in their shoes.
Understand that the person you’re speaking with might not be having the same great day that you are. You never know what the person on the other side of the email or phone has gone through that day. Relax, be patient, be understanding, and listen intently to what they’re saying and look to relate by putting yourself in their shoes. Think of a situation that may have been similar: What emotions did it evoke? What was the outcome? What did the other person do in your situation to make you feel more comfortable? Look within yourself, answer these questions, and use them to find common ground.
Add your passion, and your sentiment, to the conversation. If what the person you’re speaking with hits home with you, let it show. If it’s a good thing, share your excitement, and if it’s a bad thing, share your sentiment. Relate. It’s ok to show emotions during a conversation. I’d suggest not getting too crazy in either direction as you don’t want to scare off someone that you don’t know that well yet. I’d also suggest steering clear of conversations around politics and religion as these can sometimes get heated. If a conversation begins around a topic that you’re not comfortable with, just sit back and listen, don’t engage, and move the conversation to another more subtle topic when the opportunity arises.
Words make a huge difference.
Use the right vocabulary and voice inflections at the right time. Words can make deals happen, and they can lose them just as fast. Study vocabulary, learn power words i.e. improve, understand, proven, help, amazing, extraordinary, and such, to bring people into the conversation. Use of your voice i.e. voice inflection is super powerful when combined with the right vocabulary. Everything works with proper balance. Whatever you do, you don’t want to sound like a boring trained robot with this stuff.
Stay on topic.
Keep the conversation direct and to the point. Getting sidetracked will just prolong the conversation and you’ll probably end up forgetting about what in the world you originally were meeting to speak about. Just stick to the main point for best results. If the conversation starts drifting into other, non-relevant conversations, just reel it back into the original topic. You need to control the conversation.
Even if you don’t understand, find a way to understand. I’m sure you’ve had someone share a story with you that made no sense at all, we all have. What did you do though? Did you tell the person that they were crazy and you were never going to speak with them again? Well, if you did, and it was in a business setting, it may not have been the best thing to do because you may need, or want, to work with this person in some capacity in the future. You never know where people that you’ve met in business are going to show up. Sometimes who you thought was your worst enemy, becomes your best client, and the exact opposite i.e. best to worst, if you don’t communicate properly. Find common ground, whether you think they’re crazy or not, and understand what they’re saying to the best of your ability. You don’t need to react, you just need to listen.
Know when to bail.
Staying in a conversation for too long can open up several new cans of worms, which you may not have time for. Some people just like to talk, and they’ll talk forever. Set boundaries as soon as you start talking with people like this. If you bump into a talker you can always say something like, “Hey, I’m about to jump on a call in a few minutes, can we make it quick.” Yes, I get it, you’re kind of cutting them off from the start, but it pushes them to get right down to what they want to talk about. The thing is that if you constantly surround yourself with talkers, you’ll never get anything done. It’s all about being productive, without hurting someone’s feelings in the process.
Communicate in private.
If the conversation is online, take it offline where you can really find out what’s going on and help out. It’s easy for people to lash out online and say nasty things that they really don’t mean, so take the conversation to a private place where you can both share how you’re feeling to gain a better understanding of how each of you can work together to reach a common goal. Not everything is for public knowledge. There’s nothing wrong with pulling someone aside in person and having a quick private conversation. In fact, this is one of the most powerful types of conversation.
People are people.
Understand that no matter how much money a person has, or doesn’t have, they’re still a person. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect. Ignorance is a behavior that needs to be tossed out and forgotten about if you’re going to communicate better. If you’re not able to relate with what the person is speaking about, it’s ok, just listen as best as you can, nod your head every once in a while if you’re in-person, stay engaged, and let them know that you care. It’s funny, the best communicators, are actually the best listeners. Sounds strange, but it’s true.
Ok, that’s all of the keys to better communication for the moment. Now that you know the keys to better communication, the next step is up to you to actually implement them into your daily communications with people. Remember, the more you practice, the better you’re going to get. The better you communicate, the more you’ll position yourself for success. Daily effort is going to yield the best results.