The winner is someone who can meaningfully communicate with others.
This is true for every setting and position you hold. Freelancer, full-time employee, boss, entrepreneur, business owner, and so on.
Your communication skills decide whether you get something or not, whether you were clear and concise about it.
Effective communication at its simplest is about making yourself understood in front of someone or a group of people. But if it’s not a two-way transition, then you failed to communicate.
Effective communication has many forms: nonverbally, writing, postures, body clues, behaviors, listening, and giving feedback.
Therefore, no matter in what situation you find yourself, effective communication will help you to win the situation. Here are 11 ways to be an effective communicator even when it feels intimidating.
1. Become a good listener first
People disregard this all the time. But once you become a good listener, that’s when you start speaking better.
Nelson Mandela is regarded as a leader who listened first, he gives credit to his father for this ability. Mandela’s father was a community leader who never spoke first. He always listens until everyone was done speaking. In this way, his father had two advantages:
- People would appreciate him for listening to everything and would pay attention when it’s his chance.
- Because Mandela’s father had listened to every idea and problem of his people, he now has a good idea of what to talk about.
Thus, Nelson Mandela regarded himself as a listener first and a speaker afterward—we should practice the same.
Generally, this rule should also be applied when communicating through social media or other back-and-forth digital media.
Also, it’s always a bad idea to interrupt someone or try to dominate, nobody appreciates that. Plus, in a formal setting, it’s never about you; it’s always about the other person.
2. Nonverbal communication is a major one
Did you know that most experts agree that 70 to 93 percent of all communication is nonverbal? Meaning, the majority of your effective communication is actually achieved without speaking a word.
This means your body language, your physical cues, your way of walking and standing, and all the postures and gestures are doing the talking for you.
Therefore, maintain proper gestures, don’t slouch, walk confidently but not proudly. You should take up space around you and be comfortable with it.
Try not to fold your arms, it makes you look smaller and people generally feel it’s unwelcoming. And the major one: learn to make proper eye contact.
3. Take emotions personally
Another great way for effective communication is to take up emotional matters personally. Meaning, you should always deliver such content in person rather than sending an email or a text about it.
Let’s say you need to announce good news with your team members. So when you do it personally, you pass the good vibe to everyone. Everybody is happy now and positive energy is flowing throughout the room. This would have been impossible if you did it the other way.
In the same manner, when you got bad news, you should talk to the concerned people directly. In this way, you are there to support your peers and you’re there to share the emotions.
If these things are done via email or social media. People would assume that you don’t care about them at all, and it’s not received gracefully.
4. Keep it simplest
We are constantly bombarded with tons of data and knowledge 24*7. We already have a lot to process in such a small amount of time.
Therefore if you are making your message blurry, it’s not going to help anybody.
People in the professional world are always trying to deal with a complicated piece of knowledge. There is already much confusion and stress.
So if you can learn to be concise and to the point, you instantly increase your chances of getting heard in a noisy world.
5. Get honest feedback
Getting honest feedback is rather daunting. It tells us about our weaknesses, our shortcomings, and other areas we managed to overlook.
But there’s a difference between constructive criticism and destructive criticism. Constructive criticism is based on facts and is clear and actionable. Therefore, you should not be afraid to receive honest feedback or constructive criticism.
For effective communication, you can regularly ask feedback from your peers, team members, friends, boss, partner, etc.
Remember to also work on yourself and take necessary actions once you are aware of your shortcomings.
6. Engage with your audience
Humans have short attention spans, so if you’re going to speak for a long time, people would get bore and lose track.
It’s not about you being the bad speaker, rather it’s about keeping your audience entertained.
Therefore, regardless of how charismatic a speaker is, he must engage with his audience to get the most out of it.
Some of the best ways to accomplish this is:
- Asking questions regularly.
- Asking hypothetical questions.
- Making them perform some kind of experiment or activity.
Effective communication is about the equal flow of energy, it’s about action and reaction. Therefore, make your audience respond so they stay refreshed and enthusiastic.
7. Establish your crux
For effective communication, you must be able to deliver the crux of your thought to your listeners.
Many times, we come up with great ideas that sound great inside our minds. But when we represent them in front of other people, they sound jumbled and gibberish.
Therefore, if you are not able to communicate the crux of your thought and idea, you’re simply wasting the time and energy of your listeners.
So before you go ahead, you must ask yourself, “What is the most important part of my idea, how can I make it simple so that people can grasp it?”
Oftentimes, establishing the crux is the hardest part of any conversation. If you can explain this part to your peers, you’ll always win the deal.
8. Communicate facts in writing
Any type of communication which contains numbers, data, or facts should be communicated in a written format.
This has many advantages for your listeners. For example, when you send something factual in an email or text, the reader is more likely to retain your message.
You can also use these emails to quote them as recorded evidence whenever you need them for any decision makings.
Additionally, talking about these facts verbally is rather hard to remember for you and your listeners. People get bored when they hear facts, numbers, statics, and other such formats.
9. Focus on your timing
Let’s consider one simple question. Who has got the best timing when it comes to effective communication? Standup comedians right?
While not all their jokes are suited for professional settings but you got to appreciate their timing. These professionals can make you engage for 90 minutes straight without losing your attention.
This is possible because standup comedians are masters of their timings. Perhaps all great comedians are great communicators also—because of the same reason.
They have excellent command in guiding their audience. They make their points very clear, they know when to change the topic, and when it is appropriate to restate an idea.
10. Understand your audience
For effective communication, it’s a must that you understand different people and their expectations. Once you know your audience, you can plan and strategize to deliver your message accordingly.
This is important because every person is different. They have their own preferences, personalities, cultural norms, and other characteristics.
Therefore, if you don’t understand your audience, you can consider the following things. This is especially useful if you are running a business for a targeted audience.
- Do your research and understand the demographics.
- Create a persona/avatar
- Get to know your clients personally
- Ask question whenever necessary
11. Respect your listeners
You must have noticed, it’s very rare these days—politeness. In fact, we are generally more stressed these days and this doesn’t translate very well when we are talking to someone else.
We lose our patience easily and rudeness and hostility takes over the conversation.
Therefore, you’d be amazed if you tried to be civil with people. You’d be well received by your listeners even if they disagree with some of your points.
For that reason, practice being honest, civil, emphatic, and compassionate. The good news is that it doesn’t take any special skills to be polite—you just have to be sensitive enough for effective communication.
Due to the rise of social media and the internet, we tend to forget how to effectively communicate in a social setting. This is especially the case with younger people. But at the same time, after reading this guide. You must realize that it’s not that hard to learn effective communication skills.
Effective and clear communication skills will always keep you one step ahead of your competitors. As long as you keep your message simple and to the point.
That was the idea behind curating this article—keeping the ideas and methods simple and actionable to follow. Therefore, if you follow these tips, you’d learn to become a leader and a master of communication.