We all want to be heard. But do you have the skills to ensure that you are making an impact? Here’s a plan — learn how to communicate. Really communicate. Master the art of expressing an idea fully. Know your audience and how to receive the critical messages sent your way.
Here are 10 strategies to put you on the right road:
- Curate. Yep, less is more. You are your own brand — and this extends to the content that you share with others. In our communication rich world, we are essentially vying for the attention of others. Are you worth their time? We communicate frequently, but with little forethought concerning purpose and outcome. Have a plan. Edit what you bring to the table.
- Learn to handle difficult conversations. Let’s face it, the topic we’d most like to avoid, often has the potential to make the greatest impact. Research shows that we spend a significant amount of time handling conflict in our work lives (debate, disagreements, handling egos). So, learn how to openly address underlying tension before it affects your productivity.
- Tell a great story. Great stories not only capture our attention — they help a message endure. The best thing? There are great tools to help you develop and explain the power behind your next great idea.
- Get real. How are your communication skills playing out in real life? There is only one way to find out — see a video of yourself. Start with a short interview on Skype and work your way up to capturing an entire presentation. (There may be”cringe-worthy” moments. However, you cannot fix what you are not aware of.)
- Study. Communication skills simply do not emerge spontaneously — as this is a skill set that requires focused practice to develop. Firstly, what are your “communication” strengths and weaknesses? Devote needed time and energy, by securing the training you need. By the way, you don’t have to wait for your organization to offer — check out some great ideas at Udemy. (I’d say it’s worth $49.00).
- Create a “Vine”. A message is a message. A message that’s communicated powerfully and succinctly, can start a movement. Don’t rule out the newest methods to communicate. It’s always wise to fully stock your arsenal of techniques.
- Study your own body. Sit in a lot of meetings? (I know that I do). What does your body language communicate? Boredom? Check yourself before you wreck yourself. Body language matters.
- Create a powerful presentation deck. Want your next big idea implemented? There isn’t a more critical moment, than a start-up team in front of venture capitalists — so take a page out of their playbook. Can you communicate the strength of your next big project in 10 slides or less? I dare you to try.
- Match it. Take the time to match the message with the communication vehicle. Will an e-mail suffice? Will your chosen method actually deliver your message effectively? The options should be weighed with the message in mind.
- Meet face-to-face. The “mother lode” of communication tools is to meet in person, if at all possible. It’s the simplest and most brilliant “hack” of all — and of course, don’t forget to really listen.
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