Once the confetti has settled and the champagne bubbles have fizzled, it will be time to get down to the business of the new year. What better resolution to focus on than your communication skills? Try our tips for building your communications skills in the new year.
In a world of email and smartphones, it can become easy to hide behind technology. Direct communication provides both parties the opportunity to explain themselves and seek immediate clarification.
Before diving into a conversation, make a point of thanking others for their time. Also, complement or recognize any positive contributions they are making. Appreciation and praise can go a long way towards building relationships, plus they will make your ideas much more receptive.
Even in a professional situation, there may be some personal interests in common: hobbies, sports, children, etc. A real sense of connection makes a difference in the tone and outcome of your current conversations—and very likely your future communications as well.
Ask for input and feedback to confirm you have a mutual understanding of what has been communicated. This has a dual effect, as it makes others feel that they have been heard and understood.
What are you hoping to accomplish? It’s important to figure out what result you are after before you start a conversation. That way, you can direct the conversation, remain on point, and determine the flow of your discussion.
Be clear about what actions will be taken and establish accountability. Always try to end your communication with agreement on next steps, including who is going to do what and by what date.
Maintaining a positive attitude is critical to productive communications. Remain constructive rather than negative when expressing concerns.
There’s a difference between being assertive and being aggressive. You can be confident and direct while maintaining a calm and cooperative tone.
Lack of eye contact, distractions, sighing or fidgeting are signs of restlessness or impatience. When you notice this body language, it’s a sign that the conversation is not going to be as productive as it could be.
Maintaining a good level of communication isn’t always easy, and you need to be prepared to learn from your mistakes. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to seek out the assistance of a communications coach.
Need more good ideas for improving the way you speak? Read this article from Fast Company. Contact Dardis Communications to brush up your skills in our next Leadership Presence and Image Skills seminar.