By Christie Nelson
There are 3 essential elements that will boost your communication skills; preparation, best practice tips during an engagement and the follow through. Given the consistent innovations in technology, there seem to be many ways to shortcut communication and it’s negatively impacting our ability to successfully engage with each other. We need to get back to the basics of communication to ensure both parties are heard, understood and get value.
If you have a planned engagement with someone you will always get a better result if you prepare. Plan for the 5 W’s. Plan for who you are talking to. Will there be multiple people in the conversation? What are their motivations for being on the call? Think about what the purpose of the conversation is and what both parties need to get out of it. Consider where and when this conversation will take place. Different strategies and tactics are needed depending on the location and time of day of the conversation. For example, face-to-face conversations benefit from all the non-verbal ques whereas over the phone requires more check-ins to assess understanding and alignment. Finally establish why the person will benefit from the conversation.
During the Engagement:
There are several tactics to execute during the conversation to ensure a successful engagement. Active listening, expressing empathy, asking questions and checking-in. Active listening requires you to put your phone down! Resist the temptation to make assumptions. Care more about what the other person says than what you will say next. Being empathetic allows the other person to feel understood, relaxed and more open to engagement. It’s important to ask open ended questions to demonstrate your interest in the other person and what they have to say. If you feel like you are doing most of the talking, ask questions, get the other person to be an active participant. Throughout the conversation consider checking-in. Summarize and validate what you think you heard from the other person, so that you both walk away on the same page.
People are inundated with content these days and have short attention spans. Follow up with the person you were talking to with the highlights and action items. If this is a business conversation help your prospect or customer recall and be organized. Don’t leave important points up for interpretation, ensure understanding on both sides.
Following these 3 basic tactics will help you boost your communication skills, build your confidence, and improve your credibility.
You may also be interested in: