Being an effective communicator is essential in the business world. Each communication session should have a goal. For some the goal may be to establish a relationship, for others it will be to sell a product. To increase our chance of achieving those goals we’re going to get into an important concept of “Establishing a Connection”.
Establish a Connection. Within the first couple of seconds of interaction the person you’re communicating with will form an opinion of you that will influence their ability to react positively to your message – more simply, they’ll connect with you or they won’t. This concept works whether your “audience” includes meeting someone the first time or pitching an idea to a large group. Here are 11 skill’s you’ll need to possess to be a successful communicator:
- Start with eye contact. Did I just start with the cliche first step of “Having good eye contact”? Yes, but really the rule should be “Don’t have bad eye contact”. People actually do, subconsciously, notice when you’re engaging the room by connecting visually with them, however, they more consciously realize when you’re avoiding eye contact by reading off your notes or relying on the screen. Be remembered as the person trying to engage others in your message, not as the passive robot who didn’t realize there were other people in the room.
- Throw in some physical contact. Of course you don’t want to be the creepy, touchy-feely, person, but physical contact can be a great of way connecting with the person and letting them know you’re relaxed. A handshake with a pat on the arm, a hug instead of a handshake (if appropriate) or a pat on the back are all examples of acceptable forms contact which break down barriers of communication.
- Movement. Effective communicators do not stand behind (or even use) a podium – they move around and establish an area presence. Now that you’re moving, use hand gestures to point and interact. I’m not telling you to tap dance around your lunch meeting, however, your body language can say a lot about both you and your message – if you’re passionate and have something to say, act like it. Read: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
- Exude Confidence. I love the phrase “exude confidence” – people listen to those who exude confidence. The basis of confidence is preparation. Whether it’s anticipating questions or researching the client you’re about to meet, the more information you have going into a communication scenario, the more successful you’ll be.
- Be Comfortable and Likeable. You want people to be comfortable around you. If you’re too intimidating or rigid they wont listen to your message. Be humorous or self deprecating if appropriate, trick your audience into thinking you’re actually a likeable person.