Truly successful professionals are leaders who have mastered the art of effective communication. They are well-liked by colleagues (including subordinates and superiors), your company’s clients seem to love them too and they always seem to close the major deals.
It may seem like these individuals were blessed with a natural talent for speaking well – and maybe they were. But everything can be learned, including how to speak like a star.
Apply these 5 C’s of effective communication to enhance your relationships and get on the road to greater professional success:
1. Articulate Clearly
If your listeners can not understand what you are saying, your message will never be effective. The easiest way to instantly improve the clarity of your speech is to slow down. When we get nervous or stressed our rate of speaking often increases. And these are the times when calm eloquence and tact are most needed. Take a deep breath, slow down and speak clearly.
It is also important to formulate your thoughts in a clear manner so that other people can understand your message. Stick to your main point, be as concise as possible and back up your arguments with examples and stories that make sense to your listener.
2. Speak Correctly
Whether you like it or not, you will be judged based on how you speak. Individuals with poor grammar and sloppy speech patterns are often viewed as being lazy, uneducated and even disrespectful.
Make proper speech a priority. Polish up your grammatical skills and build a healthy vocabulary. Read as much as you can, ask your friends, family or colleagues for help or join a grammar refresher course.
You may not see this as a very important point, but as our world becomes more global, just speaking English isn’t enough. You need to speak it really well.
3. Be Considerate
Before you even open your mouth, focus on being considerate towards everyone you meet. Make eye contact with people when they approach you. Have a good attitude and show your winning smile.
Show that you care for others by asking questions and showing interest. Remember personal details that are important to them, and build a relationship that consists of more than just the work at hand. Limited small talk is imperative to building rapport and stronger relationships in the workplace.
If you are considerate towards others, they will also treat you with care and respect. We all like working with people we like, so your goal should be to be well-liked by others. The way you achieve this is by being friendly, considerate and showing you care.
4. Give Compliments
In addition to being considerate, another way to build instant rapport is to give sincere compliments. Recognize those around you for a job well done. Show interest by congratulating others on their accomplishments.
If your colleague mentions that he finally finished that big project that you know he was slaving over for months, respond with a sincere “Great job!” or “Good for you!” These types of remarks are always appreciated.
Keep in mind that compliments should be subtle and appropriate and the closeness of your relationship also determines how a compliment will be received. Commenting on a colleague’s physical appearance for example, may not be acceptable in the modern workplace, unless you are also very close friends outside of the office.
5. Have Confidence
In the end, a successful communicator is a confident communicator. It is hard to take someone seriously who doesn’t seem to believe in his own words.
Confidence does not just come from what you are verbalizing (saying), but also what you are vocalizing – in other words, the pace, pitch and volume of your voice. A calm, steady voice we can hear always sounds stronger and more confident than a quiet, mousy squeak.
Your visual appearance can also exude confidence or draw from it. Make sure you stand straight and make firm eye contact when you address other people. Even the least confident individuals can “fake” a confident image simply by forcing themselves to do these two simple things.