Communication skills are fundamental to success. “The words we use reveal our background, education, and who we are,” says Jayadvaita Swami in his seminar Straight Thinking, Strong Speaking. “You want your words to get people to think of your message, not be distracted from it. You want people to have faith in your words”.
Listen: Listening is a key to effective communication. Pushing forward with your idea disregarding other’s concerns leaves you unable to address them. You can gain support for an idea by actually hearing concerns and feedback within business.
Prepare: The most essential element in speaking is to be ready to speak. “Be prepared. Assimilate the subject so that it’s cooked in your thoughts, so you really have something that is deeply thought out and it evolves to the point when you have something strong to say,” says Swami. Keep delivery positive and confident so that your message comes across effectively.
Body language: Master the art of using body language when communicating. Provide steady eye contact with your listeners to engage their attention when you talk. Keep your hands free so they can be used to emphasize your message.
Be direct: In her book Shut Up And Say Something: Business Communication Strategies to Overcome Challenges and Influence Listeners, Karen Friedman says: “It is absolutely critical to be as direct, to the point and concise as possible.” We are constantly bombarded with information and messages, so say what you mean in clear, concise language, avoiding jargon and business speak. Terms such as ‘generally speaking’, ‘it appears to me’, um’s and ah’s, do little to improve your speech. When ambiguous words are used, you can be misunderstood and waste time having explaining yourself. Come right out and say it.
Project: Speak loudly. If you’re going to speak in public, do it so people can hear you. Audience is like a mirror. What you feel about your subject conveys itself to the audience and they feel the same way. If you’re inspired, they pick up your inspiration, and if they notice any uncertainty and lack of seriousness, they are likely to treat the information in the same way.
Know when to stop. Silence and pause during speech can also be used to gather your thoughts. Pull out the essence—deliver it—Reach your conclusion, and stop.
Have respect: Communicate with respect in every interaction. Focus on issues rather than personalities. And don’t forget to express appreciation and gratitude in your delivery. Thank team members, and respect your audience.
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