10 Ways to Empower Your Communication
The Blarney Stone is a stone of historical significance. The stone is actually part of Blarney Castle in Ireland. It is said that kissing the stone provides a person with the gift of eloquence and persuasiveness. I know it seems a bit odd that this practice endures even today, but who am I to question tradition?
There is so much to learn about the art of conversation that any one of us could ever realize. Whether you’re watching a talk show, listening to a podcast, joining a club to perfect your public speaking skills or just engaging in daily conversation, there are certain rules and guidelines that always are present in effective communication.
It may sound a bit tedious I know, but learning how to be a great speaker and conversationalist will be invaluable to your success. Even though it’s your mouth doing the work, your brain works twice as hard in the process. So what better way to enhance these skills and become an effective communicator than by trying some of these steps below.
Practice what you know
Learning about the basics of effective communication is part of every success story, but to be an effective speaker is to practice what you’ve learned. Just the act of living and being human has taught me that we all have our limitations, but that doesn’t mean we can’t continually learn new skills and practice what we know.
It’s just as important as speaking and asking questions. You should always listen more than you speak. Engaging in active listening means you’re not already thinking about your response or what you want to ask next. Doing so will completely tune out the information the other person is trying to share. Truly listening to the other person makes you a more effective communicator as you are able to build off that information and address specifics. The other person will feel acknowledged as well. This is critical for authentic connection and rapport building.
We all make mistakes. Making a mistake does not mean you are one. When speaking we may stutter, mispronounce words or even use the wrong word. Don’t be afraid to ask someone about a choice of word or to read your prepared speech to confirm it all makes sense. Asking someone for their opinion makes them feel valued and will calm your concerns. You’ll often be surprised what may unfold when allowing yourself to be vulnerable and asking for help from a co-worker or friend.
There’s a lot to say when it comes to directing your attention to your audience with an eye-catching gaze. When looking directly at a specific person in the group that you are addressing, keep it to two or three seconds at most then move on throughout the group. When speaking to someone one-on-one, it is important to make eye contact to create a stronger connection. Not making eye contact with someone often raises concerns within the other person and can affect the creation of trust.
A little bit of effective and well placed humor can do wonders to break the tension, or prevent any potential boredom with more complex subjects. Inserting some humor adds a personal touch. When doing so, your audience will view you as warm and approachable which always supports how well your message is received.
Me, Myself and I
Admit it, there are times you sing to yourself in the shower. I know I do! Listening to the sound of your own voice while you practice your speech in front of a mirror can do wonders. Practicing your speech will calm any fears and helps identify areas that you want to emphasize, and some that need a bit of fine tuning. Listening to the sound of our own voice builds confidence and ensures you deliver your speech in a way that expresses your belief in, and conviction about the subject you’ve chosen.
A smile says so much, just like eye contact. There’s no point in grimacing or frowning in a meeting or a gathering unless it’s a wake. You can better connect with others and express your ideas when you make use of your smile.
There must be at least one or two people in your life you have listened to when they’re at a public gathering or maybe at a conference. Sure they read from their notes, but watching them and making a mental note of how they emphasize what they say and connect with their audience can help you once you take center stage.
Take time to prepare rather than just scribbling notes in a hurried panic. Some people like to write things down on index cards, while others resort to being a little more silly as they look at their notes written on the palm of their hand (not for clammy hands- please). Choose topics that you are comfortable with. As an example, you know your work and what you do. If there is some technique you’ve implemented or a program you’ve used at work, start there and build upon that. Our skills are transferable, and in time your options for topics will increase exponentially.
What techniques have you tried or have worked for you while improving your communication skills? I’d love to hear your thoughts below.