If you’ve been around the MomBiz community at all, you probably know that I’m a huge fan of building relationships that in turn build your business. Now a fundamental piece of relationship building is communication, which involves both clearly articulating your thoughts and the art of listening. Being skilled in one doesn’t necessarily insure strength in the other, and of course there is always room for improvement in both. So today I’m going to share with you five tips to becoming a better communicator and therefore, empower you to bring about the results you want.
1. LISTEN. You may have noticed that we have one mouth and two ears. It stands to reason that ideally, we should spend twice the amount of time listening to others as we spend talking to them. So instead of succumbing to human nature and while you’re waiting for your turn to talk, formulating your answer, rebuttal or witty comeback, try to practice active listening. Active listening, simply put, is listening carefully enough that you can repeat back or paraphrase some of the things that the speaker says to you. There is a psychological agreement that takes place when we listen in this way—“You’re listening to me; therefore, I will listen to you,” which is, after all, what we were hoping for in the first place.
2. CALL THEM NAMES. No, I’m joking. But using a person’s name in the course of conversation is a useful tool for holding their attention. This is also a great little trick for remembering names if that’s something you have trouble with.
3. GIVE THEM PROPS. We all need a little acknowledgment. In today’s world of social media, “virtually” patting someone on the back or expressing thanks is as easy as retweeting something someone says that we see as valuable, “liking” an inspiring post on Facebook, sharing a status. Expand this idea to real life. If you want people to listen to you and help you get what you want, look for opportunities to honor them. It’s good karma and it’s good business.
4. ASK QUESTIONS. Now we’re not talking interrogation here, but more of a genuine curiosity about what the other person has to offer. By asking relevant questions and thereby proving that you care, you actually gain greater control over the direction of the conversation and earn the right to be heard in the process.
5. TAKE A BREATH. Let’s face it. In all reality, the person you’re talking with is probably only half listening. So when you’re at that critical place in the conversation where you really need to drive that point home, it’s time for a change of pace. Slowing down and building in pauses causes the other person to take notice, and also gives them time to really digest the important things you have to say.
These are some really simple but effective tools that you can apply to make yourself a better communicator, whether it’s with your kids, with your spouse, or with your clients and your team. In business or in life, communication is the key to being heard and ultimately, getting the results you want.
I love to hear from you, so send me a comment!
Are you a better speaker than you are a listener?
Which of these strategies do you plan to implement to become a more effective communicator?