By: Cole Fox
Communication is one of the top skills of an effective executive, because an executive must not only make great decisions, but communicate them to her team. Those who communicate well can manifest their destinies with less frustration along the way. Here are the top skills to focus on when sharpening your communication skills.
The Four Skills of a Master Communicator
Stop! Don’t open your mouth. Steven Covey said it best, “Seek first to be understand, then be understood”. Before you open your mouth, you don’t need to do anything except understand what the other person is saying. Easy, right? Listening is becoming a tougher and tougher skill as our lives become not only busier, but inundated by more messages every day. The one who listens will have an advantage over most.
Listening allows you to get to know someone, understand their motivations, and of course what they’re currently trying to convey to you, whether it’s an item on a project that needs to get done, etc.
“Seek first to be understand, then be understood”.- Steven Convey
If you’re trying to sell something, you’ll sell it better, the more you know about the prospect. You’ll be better at hiring someone if you’re better at listening to their needs in a job. Did you know that conveying to someone that you’ve listened to them makes them like you more?
You can get good at listening by meditating, counting to 10, and making it a habit to repeat back to people what they’ve just told you.
No one wants the whole enchilada. They want the short, sweet, concise, tl;dr version so they can quickly get on with their day. Crystalizing doesn’t always mean short, though; it could also mean you’re tailoring it to the audience.
When you crystalize your thoughts, you are not only doing that person a favor, you’re doing yourself a favor. By doing so, you understand what you’re trying to convey better, and you’ll make it easier for that person to comprehend.
A couple of ways you can crystalize include the following.
1) Listen and understand your audience, and then think of the best way to deliver the message to them based on what you know about them.
If you’re meeting with someone for the first time, see if there are any YouTube videos about them so you can pick up their communication style.
2) Deliver your message in an essay format. This is generally starting from a high-level, then going into statements, examples and evidence, then concluding with a bit of repetition.
Crystalizing applies to talking, giving a speech, emailing and many other forms of communication. ABC! Always be crystalizing!
Everyone loves a little entertainment. You should be empathetic to the fact that your audience is taking the time to listen to you, and if you don’t play with their emotions a bit, you’re not going to hold their attention. What happens if you don’t hold their attention? Your message doesn’t get through, and you’re an ineffective communicator.
Some easy ways to hold attention include pauses (if talking), or text styling if emailing. It could also be using attention-getting words such asconcern or fabulous and using the active voice, rather than the passive voice. This applies to writing and speaking to others. Humor is of course great.
There are many books out there on how to be humorous. Try figuring out your own style of humor, there’s no specific humor that’s best, although do be careful not to offend your audience!