10 Tips for Better Communication

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Mature business man during a business conference with associates

Communication is arguably one of the most important business skills, no matter what your industry. Yet many of us haven’t been trained in how to communicate with colleagues and clients. Here are some tips to help you become a better communicator:

  1. Think before you speak. Saying what you mean and meaning what you say is the golden rule to communication. To achieve this, you must hear what you are saying before it is spoken. This requires pausing for a moment of thought. Analyze what you plan to say and evaluate whether it sounds like what you intend.
  2. Watch your body language. Your body language, facial expression, posture, movement, and tone of voice can help you emphasize the truth, sincerity, and reliability of your communication.
  1. Be honest and direct, and focus on the issue. If you enter a conversation insecure about making your point, you probably won’t make it.
  1. Slow down and don’t run your words together. Speak slowly enough that people understand you easily. However, be careful not to slow down to the point where people begin to complete your sentences just to help you finish. When you finish a thought, think of adding a period (.) by counting to three in your mind.
  1. Eliminate fillers. When speaking, try to eliminate fillers such as ”uh,” “um,” “like,” and “you know.” Record yourself and count the number of fillers. Repeat the exercise until the number of fillers is diminished considerably.
  1. Use appropriate volume. Speak loudly enough to be easily heard but avoid shouting or screaming. If people ask you to speak up or to repeat yourself, this is a clue that you need help in this area. If people shush you or ask you to lower your voice, that’s a clue, too.
  1. Keep it simple. Don’t stuff a handful of thoughts into one breath. Break up your ideas and use direct statements that will be easier to comprehend.
  1. Use the right words/pronounce words correctly. Be certain you know the meaning of a word, otherwise don’t use it.  If you aren’t sure how to pronounce a word, substitute another. We can forget a word when rushing in a presentation. The best technique is to speak slower and pause to recall or substitute the word.
  1. Make eye contact. Eye contact emphasizes sincerity — and without sincerity your point will not be received.
  1. Recognize when you need outside help to communicate effectively. Consider hiring a coach to help or attending a class on presenting to an audience.

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