Communication is a key part of success at work or in other parts of your life. Top leaders have practiced and mastered the skills that enable them to communicate so well. Luckily, you too can learn these same skills!
Follow these strategies to practice essential communication skills:
1. Learn to listen. One of the main errors people who struggle with communication make is listening to respond instead of listening to understand. Top leaders know that listening is a crucial part of communication. Learn to love listening and engage in the stories of others.
○ Try to really pay attention during a conversation instead of being distracted by your phone or other device. Have one conversation at a time to give each person your full attention.
○ Practice retelling the person’s story in your mind to get better at listening.
○ Everyone wants to be heard. Others will notice that you’re listening to them and will go away from your conversations thinking what a great communicator you are, when all you did was listen.
2. Adjust your style according to your audience. It’s normal to use slang or other types of informal language while talking to friends or family. However, business usually requires a more formal language set. Pay attention to who you’re talking to and make the necessary adjustments.
○ Slang, acronyms, and informalities can also make some people feel uncomfortable, especially if they’re not familiar with them.
3. Focus on being brief. Top leaders know that you don’t have to make a long speech to be effective.
○ Practice being brief and getting your point across with fewer words and less time. People appreciate brief conversations and respect others who don’t go off on tangents.
○ However, ensure you’re still providing enough information while you talk. You don’t want to be vague or miss important details.
○ This skill may take time to develop, so practice it often. The next time you have a conversation, try to get your point across with less talking. Try to summarize the important parts and only focus on them while you talk.
4. Pay attention to other’s emotions. When you talk, take note of how the other person is reacting. Words are powerful, and communication can affect people in many different ways.
○ Show sympathy and empathy when it’s appropriate during a conversation.
○ Look at things from the other person’s point of view without criticism or judgment.
5. Be authentic. It is easier to get your message across if people are able to trust you.
○ At all levels of society, people are expecting higher levels of honesty, understanding, humanity, and inclusion. Leaders who are able to master this are able to connect with a wider audience.
○ Staying true to who you are creates value in your personal brand.
○ When you are authentic in your communication, you empower others to be themselves as well.
You can learn to communicate more effectively by following these tips from top leaders. Practice these skills as often as possible. You’ll have many opportunities each day. Every time you have a conversation with anyone is an opportunity to practice a little more. And as you know, practice makes perfect!