How Successful People Communicate – and How You Can Too
10% of conflict is due to difference in opinion, and 90% is due to delivery and tone of voice – Unknown
Effective communication is critical to becoming a successful person, at work and at home. When you think about a person in your life who you consider a great leader, you probably realize they communicate well. Great leaders have the ability to keep communication lines open between them and others and are able to share the big picture, whatever that may be. Becoming a great communicator can increase your chances of being successful in your job, your life, and may even give you to access new opportunities.
But how do you communicate effectively?
There are a number of things you can do in your own life that will make you a better communicator.
First, learn to listen.
People who are great communicators are generally also great listeners. “Active listening” is considered a skill on its own and when someone actively listens to another person, they are then able to respond fully to what was said, or clarify a couple of things. Listening is so important in the communication world, but it definitely gets lost sometimes. We have information coming at us from all directions, so it can be easy to tune some of it out. But consciously deciding to listen to the individual speaking to you, and giving them your full attention will give you the benefit of having all the information, and subsequently the ability to respond with an intelligent answer.
Check your body language!
People tend to forget that body language is part of communication. We all have habits in how we position ourselves when speaking to someone. It can be helpful to check what you are doing with your body when you are talking to someone. Crossing your arms can convey that you are closed off or bored. Leaning slightly forward when discussing with someone across the table can convey to them that they have your full attention. Little things in the way we position ourselves can change the way people perceive us when they are interacting with us. So to increase your workplace success, try to work on making your body language more open and confident. Amy Cuddy has a great TEDtalk on body language and confidence.
Effective communicators are able to get the information across in a clear and concise manner. Or in other words, they get their vision across in a way that will allow everyone to understand it. This makes the process of working on that vision much more efficient because there isn’t time wasted on clarifying questions. This is another area where you can increase your chances for success because management and other leaders will respect this kind of behavior.
Control the tone.
The tone of a message can completely change how the message is received, even if it is a good one. Effective communicators can control the tone in which they speak to ensure the message comes across loud and clear. This means that if they have to speak firmly, they will do so. In other situations, they may be more conversational. Being able to read the situation is highly important because it allows you the chance to modify what you want to say so that it is effective.
Lastly, know what you are talking about!
The best communicators generally have the information to back-up what they are saying. Think about a situation where you encounter someone who is talking about something, but they seem to be getting some facts wrong and maybe doesn’t actually know the information. You will likely discredit their information because you know they don’t know what they are talking about. It is critical to be competent in the area that you are speaking to, because you might be speaking to someone who knows the topic as well as you, or better.
In short, effective communicators are concise and speak clearly in a way where the tone, and body language are conducive to getting the message across. Also, effective communicators know what they are talking about.
Taking a step back and reviewing how you speak, how you listen, and what you speak about can allow you to learn more about yourself and how to become a better communicator. Being an effective communicator is just another skill required in the toolbox to become a great leader.
I hope this information helped you, and you are able to assess how you communicate with others. I sometimes have issues with body language, especially if I am really tired (it’s all connected to posture). But working on it is easy!
Let me know if you have any other questions or just want to talk!