The importance of communication in life, and in business, is often not given the attention it deserves. Communicating is a skill, one that requires effort, time and practice. Some people are naturally better at communicating than others, but just like any other skill set, effective communication can be learned.
I received a business tip and article in my inbox from Stephen Lynch, CEO at Results.com that stated: The No.1 criteria for advancement and promotion is an ability to communicate effectively.
As I read through the article the information really resonated with me, as two of our core values at BTV are to care and connect with our clients. The marketing materials the BTV team creates are developed to be innovative, interesting and designed to connect with the viewer, the investor and with our client.
The following points are taken directly from Stephen Lynch’s article that I felt were worth sharing in the quest to become a better communicator:
1. Give yourself.
In social situations, go first. Initiating a conversation often feels awkward. It means risking rejection. Prepare two or three questions you can ask beforehand. At the close of a conversation, ask if there is anything you can do to help them and then make sure you follow through.
2. Pay full attention.
Eliminate or tune out distractions. Look away from the screen. Put what you are doing down. Give them your eyes, body, brain, and energy. Take a genuine interest in what the person is saying.
3. Show that you care.
When you are trying to connect with people, it’s not about you – it’s about them. Don’t just focus on getting your opinions across, or telling them about how great your product or service is. Talk more about them, and less about you. Focus on them and their needs. If you are in sales, and you want people to take action – they will do so for their reasons, not yours.
4. It’s about the feeling.
People will not always remember what you said or did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
5. More than words.
It has been said that:
• What we say accounts for 7% of what is believed.
• The way we say it: 38%
• What they see: 55%
If this is true, more than 90% of the impression we make is nothing to do with what we actually say. People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude. The exact words you use are far less important than your passion and conviction in saying them.
6. Be authentic.
Know yourself. Know your audience. Know your stuff. As jazz great Charlie Parker once said, “If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.”
7. Keep it simple.
Cut to the chase before your listener starts thinking, “What’s the point?”
Being simple as a communicator isn’t a weakness – it’s a strength. The measure of a great teacher isn’t what the teacher knows; it’s what their students learn. Albert Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it enough.”
8. Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.
The first time you say something, it’s heard. The second time, it’s recognized. The third time, it’s learned.
I’ve also heard it said that, “At the point when you are getting sick of repeating yourself, other people are only just beginning to hear it for the first time”.