Improve your Communication Skills to be a Better Leader in Future
The key to attain success in different aspects of life is by using effective communication skills at all right stages. There are many professions in the industry which require strong communication skills from the candidates for recruitment. Individuals who possess great communication skills generally tend to have better interpersonal relationships with their family and friends. Effective communication is referred to as a major interpersonal skill and for a student to learn how to improve his communication abilities has multiple advantages.
However, it is unfortunate to say that many individuals often find it difficult to know where to begin their communication enhancement. Don't worry this article has got your back! Read ahead to get familiar with the ways to improve your communication abilities, be aware of the key problem areas and advice about the areas you should focus your attention on.
It is important for you to know that effective communication is a two-way process. It entails how we send and receive information or messages. Receiving covers both how the receiver consumes the information i.e. the listening or reading and how he decodes the transmitted message. Thus, in order to enhance communication skills, a scholar needs to work on either or both the elements. It is also interesting to know that most of the problems actually arise in receiving the information or message rather than sending it.
Successful leaders are at the top position today because of their ability to meaningfully communicate their thoughts and ideas to the audience. For instance, Steve Jobs motivated his employees to put in the best of their efforts to develop perfect hardware products or Jack Welch with his communication skills guided the GE senior leadership crew to reach new heights or Jeff Bezos used his communication abilities to articulate the Amazon ethos loud and clear to his internal team and the world. One common thing amongst all these leaders is outstanding communication and leadership skills.
Here are some of the major tips and tricks you can use to improve your communication skills and hence become a better leader in life.
- Identify the key issues: There is a large number of people all around the world who appreciate the fact that they have problem with communication skills however they often struggle to know where to start their improvement from. There are numerous ways which help an individual to identify specific issues such as
- Asking your friends and families for valuable advice. Many people will get the appropriate support from their friends and family in their journey towards self-improvement. In fact, they might have been waiting for this opportunity for quite some time now. At the initial level, an individual might find it helpful to use a structure of start, continue, stop while seeking the feedback of his near ones.
- The best way is to ask people to tell you one or two things that you start working upon, one or two things you should continue working upon and one or two things that you should stop doing. This method will ensure that you get an action focus feedback in a brief manner. You can also use a self-assessment tool which can help you to identify the most important areas which require improvement.
- Get familiar with the basics of non-verbal communication: There have been studies conducted which show that non-verbal communication accounts for more than fifty per cent of how the listeners have understood a presented message. This signifies that the greater part of your message or information is communicated not via words but with the help of physical cues. In order to communicate vibrantly and confidently a person should take up correct body posture. Dodge folding your arms or slouching or making yourself seem teenier than you are and in its place focus on filling up space you’re given, moving around the space if possible and maintaining the eye contact with the audience.
- Try to over-communicate in order to communicate effectively: There have been studies conducted which show that presenters often overestimate how much a listener understands from his communicated message. Derived from these studies it is gathered that it is essential to communicate clearly but it is more essential to over-communicate when sharing any new idea with the audience. This will ensure that the audience will absorb as much as you expected from them in the beginning.
- Do not rely on visual help: are you aware of the fact that Steve Jobs implemented a regulation at Apple which prohibited the use of all the PowerPoint presentations? Likewise, at Facebook PowerPoint presentations were banned by Sheryl Sandberg. The reason behind this ban was identified to be the realisation that PowerPoint presentation can bring more harm to the communication process rather than aiding it. Instead of visual presentation, a student should be prepared to use compelling storytelling, strong words, as well as effective non-verbal cues to transmit a point effectively through his audience.
- Look for honest and valuable feedback: It is critical to receive honest feedback from the peers, managers, or team members in order to implement the leadership skills effectively and also to become a better communicator. If a student asks for feedback on a regular basis it might help him to be familiar with the areas that need improvement which he might have disregarded in general circumstances.
- Involving the audience in your discussion: It is a bitter truth that the attention span of the audience is only limited regardless of the fact how compelling the presenter is. in order to become an effective communicator, it is important for an individual to ensure that his presentation and discussions are interactive in nature. He can ask the audience a question or encourage them to put forward their thoughts during the brainstorming session or at the very unexpected ask them a hypothetical question to stimulate their attention.
- Begin and conclude your conversation with the key points: According to the various studies conducted on the topic, communicating clearly is of utmost importance in any area or field. In order to make sure that the audience has grasped the main message from the presentation or conversation, it is essential for a student to retell the major highlights of the same at the beginning as well as the end of the process. This can basically be achieved by providing the audience with a one-pager which includes the major points covered in the presentation or meeting.
- Make the PIP approach your go-to framework: The experts at McKinsey adhere by the most commonly used framework for their presentations and that is the PIP framework. PIP stands for Purpose, importance, preview approach. Using this approach the presenter starts a presentation by stating its purpose, followed by sharing why the presentation is important. This step is achieved by reviewing the implications and the most likely to be achieved outcomes. Followed by this finally the presenter gives a preview of the topics and themes that will be discussed in the presentations. The PIP framework is a useful method to get the audience enthusiastic about a presentation and also helps them to pay attention to the message being conveyed and the major takeaways of it.
- For future reference it is recommended to record important presentations: A student might have invested a great deal his time and energy in all to communicate his message effectively to the audience. If you are an individual or student pursuing your career in a scenario where you’re required to give the same presentation again and again why not consider recording it and sharing it in the future. There are various online platforms which allow a presenter to record himself while delivering a presentation. These recordings can be edited accordingly to make it more engaging and informative. The recorded presentations can be beneficial especially for communicators who are required to regularly provide training in an organisation which is hiring employees rapidly.
- Be an expert of the timing while communicating your message across: Many a time the presenter uses inappropriate references at the wrong place which can impact his communication abilities. For instance, the jokes presented by stand-up comedians might not be suitable for the offices but they still are successful communicators. The comedians are able to host shows for an extended period because of their expertise in the art of timing. Just like comedians’ great communicators are able to sense their listeners in order to regulate when to start a different topic or repeat the previous one.
- Get comfortable in impromptu speaking: We might have seen that when lawyers present a case in front of the court they don’t have a script with them they speak impromptu. That is to say, the lawyers jot down a list of topics they plan to discuss in the court but do not memorise what they would say exactly word to word.
This approach of communication allows the lawyers or any other communicator to cover all the necessary points in a conversation or presentation while at the same time given the flexibility to communicate on the basis of the audience reaction or questions. It requires practice but once achieved this will allow for a more natural communication process to occur between the presenter and the audience.