How often has a person you’re talking with or an audience you’re addressing misinterpret ideas you feel you’ve conveyed in a crystal-clear manner? It happens to everyone. The consequences of communication blunders can include hurt, anger, conflict and broken relationships. Power communicators know how to avoid these missteps.
Learning the secrets of power communicators can help you deliver messages that improve relationships, inspire positive outcomes and increase career opportunities. Harness the following techniques to avoid messages that result in unintended and undesirable consequences.
Use positive body language: They sit or stand upright with relaxed posture and uncrossed arms and feet. They never wring their hands, shift from foot to foot or continually check their phones.
Listen actively by making eye contact and taking mental notes of what the other person is saying—reliable ways to help remember more of any conversation.
Don’t disparage, ignore or judge the words or actions of others. They realize that doing so creates anger, resentment, defensiveness and resistance.
Address behavior, not the person exhibiting the behavior. Rather than say, “You messed up the marketing report”—a power communicator might say: “The marketing report looks great overall, and we should discuss one issue on page five.”
Avoid qualifiers and conversation fillers that weaken communication. These include: just, I think, kind of, sort of, very, usually, you know, mostly, actually, um, ah, like and really. Which is a stronger statement: “I think I can …” Or: “I can ...”
Believe in their messages. They convey excitement when delivering clear, concise narratives that don’t cause listeners to tune out.
Notice when listeners appear to be confused, stop and ask questions to identify the problem(s), then offer further information and examples.
Don’t interrupt, except to clarify something they don’t understand. They’re never tuned out, waiting for their “turn” to talk.
Make others feel important by considering the other person or persons’ viewpoint when communicating with them.
Aren’t afraid to address differences of opinion and problems. They talk through issues and make sure everyone knows they can ask questions whenever they need to—in the moment, or later, in their office.
Redirect their own anxiety. Instead of focusing on their nerves, they tell themselves: “I’m excited about this topic, and I can’t wait to discuss it.” This is a surprisingly effective technique.
Tailor their messages to each specific audience, whether a colleague, a team or an audience of hundreds.