We’ve all seen them. The person who has a way with words in conversation and always seems to get their point across. What do they do that makes them a good communicator? How do they do it? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could do it too? Though some people are born with natural ability to communicate, the basic techniques can be learned. You too can be a better communicator with a little practice.
Following is a series of observations regarding good communicators and why they are effective:
Smile, even if it hurts a little. A smile puts the listener at ease and in a frame of mind to listen.
Be first to say “hello.” Greeting someone recognizes them as a person you value.
Take some risks. Do not overly anticipate rejection as it can make you seem timid.
Change the topic of conversation when it has run its course.
Continuing to push a topic can make the listener ill at-ease and cause them to discount everything else you say.
Prove you are a good listener. By briefly restating others comments back to them in different words, they know you heard them.
Develop an “elevator” pitch. Being able to tell others what you do in a few short sentences helps you to be seen as a polished professional. A few words will go a long way. Plan ahead and choose words carefully.
Eye contact means a lot. Always use good eye contact, but especially when making your first contact with people. It shows someone you are focused on and value them.
Be a greeter. At the risk of feeling like you are “running for Mayor,” try greeting people you see regularly, even if you don’t know them. People like to be noticed and valued. When the time comes for conversation with them, you will find a ready audience.
Find common ground. Seek common goals, interests, and experiences with the people you meet. You will be surprised to find that you have one or more things in common with almost everybody.
Let others play the expert. Be ready to let someone be an expert (unless their advice or information is wrong in the extreme), and even then use tact when offering correction.
It is OK to be enthusiastic. Have several questions tucked away in your memory ready to ask. This will show interest in them and open the door to meaningful conversation.
Trade information with someone. Work to balance the giving and receiving of information. If things go too much in the direction of one party in a conversation things quickly become boring.
Be passionate. Expressing a measure of your feelings, opinions, and emotions to others about a topic shows that you care.
Ask people their opinions. Most people have an opinion about almost everything but will not share it unless asked. Be respectful of others’ beliefs, even if you do not agree with them.
Tell stories correctly. When you tell a story, present the main point first, and then add the supporting details afterward. This makes the difference between someone who tells a good story and those who do not. By doing so, It gets the listener engaged; the truth of the story is in its details.
Body language speaks loudly. Be aware of “open” and “closed” body language. Crossed arms and legs, diverted eyes, etc., may convey that someone does not want to hear what you have to say. If you see such ques, take the hint and change tactics in the conversation.