Today is my birthday, so in this special day, I wish to write on a subject that genuinely cheers me up -together with export of course : the art of communication.
In my opinion, communication is not a gift from Mother nature, which would explain that some people are better than others. Of course, education and literacy play an important part in one’s ability to communicate.
However, I think that communication is a skill which, like a muscle, should be practiced over and over again.
There are many forms of communication (verbal communication, body language, written…) and many types of communication (professional vs personal, intimate vs speech-mode, etc.) but I will not dig into each of them now.
In this post, I wish to focus on the basics of the art of communication… So get ready, take a deep breath, clear your mind and embrace my top 5 communication tips :
NUMBER 1 : Be genuinely curious
Get involved and grow your interest for your contacts’ interests. Keep an open mind and always process information from different angles.
Target => Boost your confidence by developing strong foundations in general knowledge
NUMBER 2 : Find your opening
When preparing a meeting or a phone call, always keep a nice news update to start the discussion. It may be a quick brief on the latest company achievement (building/office improvement, a new market, a recruiting perspective…) or on your global environment (a currency fluctuation which affects your activity, a politic change perspective…) No matter what you pick, keep it simple and most important, keep it positive. By giving out an « off the record » information, you make your interlocutor feel trustworthy.
Target => Create a good atmosphere in between you and your interlocutor
NUMBER 3 : Listen, listen, listen, and synchronize
This is essential, and quite well approached by Neuro-Linguistic Programming. While listening to your interlocutors, you may develop your « feedback » (understanding and processing of how others react to you -your movements, your words, etc.) and adapt your communication accordingly. For a smooth communication, it is advised to synchronize as much as possible with your interlocutors (« copy » the way they behave, what choice of words they use, etc.)
Target => Make your interlocutor at ease in your presence
NUMBER 4 : Keep it professional
The point 3 is important, but it should not keep you from being professional, if your interlocutor isn’t. To keep your communication professional at all time, just remember 2 basics :
- By any means, keep the communication away from emotional fields. Avoid using « sentimental » vocabulary such as « I feel » or strong words like « betrayal », « dishonesty »… If your interlocutor uses them, bring him back to you by using a more neutral language.
- Keep it simple : in your mind and in your communication, the purpose of the meeting/discussion must stay present and clear. Do not hesitate to rephrase the point of the meeting on several occasions if you feel that it is getting confusing.
Target => Achieving your goal, meeting your professional agenda.
NUMBER 5 : finish the meeting by uplifting the conversation
As also mentioned in my post Keys to a constructive conversation, it is essential to have a common project / target with your interlocutors. While talking about projects, asking your interlocutor’s point of view on future steps, you may help your interlocutor visualizing the bigger picture and feeling confident about whatever comes next.
Target : expanding your network by being a great person with whom one can dream bigger (no less than that!)
Communication really is the foundation of every good and healthy relationship (both personal and professional). I hope you found these tips useful and that they will somehow help in your professional fulfillment through building up a dynamic network.
Please leave your comments on this post by sharing your experience on the subject : what are your own communication tips?