Communication plays a huge role in business and mastering it is essential to career success. Colin James runs the Colin James Method, he is a well-respected master of communication who teaches individuals and corporate businesses how to conquer the art of communication.
Here’s Colin James’ 9 Steps to Becoming an Expert Communicator
1. Believe in Yourself
You need to start by believing in yourself. Self-belief in your ability to master communication is the first step to improving your skills.
2. Watch & Learn
When good leaders don’t know what they are doing they fake it. More often than not if you look like you know what you are doing, people will not doubt you, but you can’t pretend convincingly without establishing self-belief first.
3. Embrace 'Other Conscious'
‘Other conscious’ means putting yourself in your audience’s shoes. You should think and formulate your communication appealing to their point of view, within their reality.
People are motivated by different things, you need to understand their world view in order to find out what they hold important. This all helps to frame your communication.
Communicating this way also helps you become less self-conscious as you are focused on them and not yourself.
4. Positive ‘Self Talk’ is Imperative
Embrace a more positive mind-set in your day-to-day work. Exuding a positive attitude will help build your reputation around work.
5. Create Boundaries, Starting with Phones
In several countries now it is considered poor taste to be looking at mobile devices in social contexts. By asking employees in your next business meeting to keep their phones tucked away you will immediately create boundaries, set the tone for what is acceptable and ultimately remove the temptation to fidget resulting in employees being more present in the conversation.
If for no other reason though, it is just basic manners to pay attention when people are speaking to you.
6. Tell True Stories to Connect
Stories can greatly influence people. By telling true stories taken from your own experiences and connecting them with your desired communication outcome you will find people respond better. Well told stories sometimes have an incredible ability to resonate with people, creating connection and affinity.
7. Don’t Memorise Speeches
A great communicator doesn’t learn an entire speech when they have to address an audience. Memorisation is not communication.
A communication master makes sure they have a structure with which to free-flow around with as needed during their speech. The communicator takes note of audience cues and adjusts their words accordingly to achieve the desired response.
8. Be Aware of Body Language
This one is vital to get right as body language says so much about a person before they have even uttered a word. Concentrate on your posture, straight back, shoulders back, eyes up, head-up. Think confidence, authority and dignity, then project these traits.
Take it easy with hand gestures. Use gestures in moderation and only when they are appropriate. No flapping about, your hands should not become an acrobatics side-show creating a distraction from what you are saying.
9. Use PowerPoint in Moderation
When using a PowerPoint presentation during a meeting ensure you only defer to it sparingly. People will pay more attention to your slides than you (humans are easily distracted by shiny things) so make sure you only incorporate slides which validate the point you are making. Once you have hammered it home, click to black so your audience’s attention returns to you.
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