For years now, people have been saying “the geeks will inherit the earth”. In today’s technology-centric age, it’s a fair assumption to make. But what the team here has discovered through conversations in our personal lives, at work, and on our podcast Be The Drop, is that they won’t. Not unless they have good communication skills.
You can be the most organised Project Manager, an authority on SEO, or a top money expert; if you cannot communicate effectively, you’re never going to be the best.
Whether it’s with your peers, potential customers, friends or colleagues, effective communication and interpersonal skills are the key to dominating your marketplace. If you’re ambitious and want to make it to the top, keep reading to find out why you must prioritise mastering this skill, plus I reveal four top tips to get you started…
Want to be a better communicator? Get started with THIS FREE TOOL.
Realising that good communication is the secret to success
Whether you call it good communication, charisma, or interpersonal skills, that ability to connect with others through monologue or dialogue is undoubtedly the secret to professional success.
I should know, I studied Effective Communication for 8 years. Now, I offer Effective Communication training for small businesses and professionals (click here to find out more), plus I’m a regular event MC and keynote speaker. So I know my stuff.
I was interviewing one of my clients recently. He’s a Project Manager in the property sector. He’s not a lion tamer, an airline pilot, or some other job that you think is cool. But his ability to communicate and relate to other people has made him one of the most successful and sought after Project Managers in the industry.
It’s what sets him apart from the rest. It makes him memorable. Likeable. People want to stay connected to him, follow him even.
Take a second to think about just how powerful that is. Imagine if you had that power. What could it mean for your business or career?
…(just giving you a second)…
When I consider my most influential Be The Drop podcast guests, I realise they too have this power.
Even Steve of The Adelaide Show, who swore his community was built only as an incidental bi-product of the “selfish satisfaction” he gets from doing radio. His use of humour and ability to think on his feet (check out our impromptu poetry slam for evidence of this!) are examples of good communication skills. They’re part of what makes his podcast so addictive and his online community so engaged.
They’re key to his success. And the reason why The Adelaide Show is one of South Australia’s most popular podcasts.
So, here are some tips to improve your communication…
1. Know Your Audience
This is the basis for good communication, whether you’re at a networking event, pitching to a client, or asked to be a conference keynote speaker.
Take the time to find out who you’re going to be talking to, stalk them on LinkedIn, think about the kind of problems they might have and whether you can give them solutions. Use this free audience profiling tool to get your research down on paper and paint a picture of those people. This will undoubtedly help you to communicate with them better.
2. Practice Active Listening
Good communication is a two-way street, even if you’re talking to a silent room full of people, recording a podcast, or communicating with your community online. There is an audience and you must listen to them.
Active listening is listening with all of your senses. If you’re delivering a speech, feel the mood and energy in the room. Watch people’s facial expressions and body language. If you’re networking, don’t get caught up thinking about the next thing you’re going to say. Fully hear and absorb the responses you’re getting. You can then match your communication to your audience, adjusting it accordingly.
3. Use Storytelling
Stories are a great way to break the ice, relate to your audience, and convey complex information or a subject matter that isn’t “sexy”. A short, personal story can be the ideal way to lead into a public speech, letting your audience know a little bit about you. They’ll be more engaged with what you have to say afterwards.
Plus, if you really know your audience, you’ll know what stories to tell to get their attention. Don’t tell a story about how much you hate children to a room full of mum bloggers. Awkward.
“Tell the story simply, directly, sincerely, with freedom and ease and good use of your body.”
4. Don’t Talk, Perform
Too often, people think of communicating as just talking to people. It’s not. Think of your voice and body as instruments. Are they expressive?
Practice communicating with your audience in the mirror. How should you stand? What emotion is expressed on your face? Does your voice sound interesting? Play around with using your facial muscles, hands and voice intonation to convey meaning and emphasise certain points.
Actors use every inch of their bodies when they perform. Good communicators do too.
***Congratulations! If you read this entire blog post, you’re already on your way to becoming a better communicator, to be more successful in business and life. Let me know in the comments if you’d like any clarification on anything. Stay tuned for more blog posts on effective communication tips and tricks!
For top advice from effective communicators, check out our free Be The Drop podcast. We release new content each week!
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