Communication Skills: 6 Tips to Take Your Communication from Good to Great
by Dianna Booher
What makes people label some public figures (Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela) “great communicators” and others merely good? Why do some professionals enter the workplace and earn the tag a “great leader who can communicate a vision” rather than simply “a good performer”? Why do the media repeatedly refer to certain organizations for their “great communication” with customers while others go unnoticed?
Good communicators get a point across.
Great communicators move people to action, strengthen relationships, and create cultures that last.
Six Tips to Take Your Communication From Good to Great
1. Own it.
Great communicators assume responsibility for their words. They speak with passion, personal commitment, and demonstrative action. They know that blaming, reframing, and claiming lack of knowledgeable about a decision weakens their message. Nothing reduces credibility like starting a statement with, “I’ve been asked to tell you that…” Such a comment is like a neon light flashing “I’m not totally behind this idea, approach, policy, but here goes…”
2. Speak to the heart.
Stir people’s emotions, as well as their reasoning mind. Make them feel compassion, empathy, fear, love, envy, excitement, competitiveness – whatever the appropriate emotion to move them toward action.
3. Strip away the complex to focus on the simple message.
People slug away daily under information overload. Too much information paralyzes them. Data dumps, lengthy analyses, and abstract theories – if all of it doesn’t bore them to death, it confuses and often contradicts rather than clarifies. Great communicators summarize well. Can you say it a sentence? A word?
4. Paint a picture.
Facts, figures, statements, and theories fade from mind quickly. Give listeners a word picture to anchor your point or message. Pastor John Meador recently used this analogy in a sermon series on “Overhaulin’ Your Life” in which he equated a life-makeover to rebuilding a car: “You need mentors as accountability partners to give you feedback on your decisions just as you need a pit crew like we’ve had to rebuild this old Volkswagen.”
5. Look for relevancy.
People buy into what benefits them. Find out their goals, concerns, interests, and questions. Then marry your message to that information to make sure it’s relevant to them, not just you.
For example, CEOs know they will NEVER get a reporter to write a story about their new product if they send a press release that tells only about the features of their new product. The reporter wants to know, “What’s the angle? What will your product do for my readers?” Answer that question in your press release, and you’ll likely get the reporter’s attention.
Far too many people speak from their own perspective, and try to “win people over to their way of thinking” rather than starting the conversation from the other person’s perspective and bringing them along toward a new view. How does your information benefit your listeners? Start there.
6. Be specific about the action you want.
Hinting, implying, or assuming won’t do. Vague is out too. State, recommend, or suggest (whatever is in your power to do) specific, immediate action you want your listeners to take as a result of your communication. As you may have pondered about dieting: How do you get 20 pounds overweight? A half-pound a week for almost a year, with no action. How does a group understand a clear message and yet change nothing? With no clearly outlined action steps and no timeframes.
Does your team fall into the “good” or “great” category?
About the Author: Dianna Booher, an expert in executive communications, is the author of forty-six books. Her latest books include Creating Personal Presence: Look, Talk, Think, and Act Like a Leader and Communicate with Confidence, Revised Edition. Booher.com 1-800-342-6621
Article source: GoArticles.com