Good communication skills are great life skills. Invaluable in the board room and perhaps even more important when it comes to managing our personal relationships.
Here are some common mistakes that can really hinder the communication process:
1. Ambiguous body language: We are visual beings and so words never override body language. When expressing excitement you want to look and sound excited. If you’re sorry you need to express that in your tone and demeanor. In conversation, if you stand with your back half turned to someone then it’s likely your body language will send a signal that you’re not interested in talking.
2. Silence is golden: The next time you speak to a colleague, think about how often you remain quiet. When you do this you allow for feedback. Periodice silence gives people a chance to ask questions and offer ideas, thoughts and observations.
3. Fidgeting: Do you scratch, strum your fingers, adjust your clothes or fidget with a pen? These mannerisms are often unconscious but they can be very distracting and diminish what you are saying.
4. Eye contact: When you make eye contact, you are giving the other person your attention. You are telling them they are important and that you want to hear what they have to say. Poor eye contact can make you seem unapproachable and/or disinterested.
5. Overspeaking: Think about the point you’d like to make and then go ahead and make it! Being verbose and long winded is often a symptom of speaking before you think. Plan what you want to say and then get to the point!
6. Interrupting: It can be difficult sometimes to wait for someone to make their point (especially if they are guilty of overspeaking) however by cutting others off, you not only send a message that you don’t care about what they’re saying, you also cut yourself out of the conversation. Remember that we learn more from listening than from speaking.
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