The art of communication is something everyone can work on. We never become the greatest communicator alive. There will always be someone else.
Communication is the thing that can make or break the best leaders. Without clear communication, you will struggle to get people to listen to you, act on what you say, and be heard.
Communication is pretty important, huh?
How can you build your communication skills and, in turn, build stronger relationships and achieve greater success? Follow along; we’re going to take a look at a few ways you can do this.
The Art of Communication: How to Build Stronger Relationships and Achieve Greater Success
Listening: The Most Important Skill
Wait, but you said we would learn about communicating, right?!? We are. And listening is the most important skill when it comes to effective communication.
Communication isn’t a one-way street. Instead, the greatest communicators are those who learn to communicate in a two-way fashion.
You may do most of the communicating, but you must open your ears. The Greek philosopher Epictetus has been credited with the saying that we have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.
Learn to open your ears when communicating. What is the other person saying? How is the audience responding to your words? Are they bored? Do they look engaged?
When we listen, we discover if people are getting what we’re saying.
Speaking: The Power of Clarity
Do you remember Charlie Brown? Do you remember his teacher? His teacher lost his students. All they heard was, “Mwah wah wah wah mwah.” Check it out below.
The teacher lost their students in the show because they were dull and unclear. The students even began to fall asleep. You don’t want that.
Yet most people go on and on and on when they try to communicate.
I think about pastors praying from their church pulpit. Or maybe it’s someone that’s been invited up. What should be a clear, concise prayer because a long, rambling, incoherent mess that could have been 30-40 seconds. Instead, churchgoers have to listen for 4-5 minutes.
To be clear in your communication, keep it succinct. You don’t have to ramble and use big words. Look for ways to bring your communication down to the lowest common level possible. Make sure you know exactly what you want to say and how you want to say it. If you feel like you’re getting wordy, you probably are.
In all of this, you lose clarity. Focus on the main message and speak on that. Don’t lose your train of thought and prattle on. Tangents rarely engage your audience.
Here are a few ways to improve your clarity when communicating:
- Attend Toastmasters regularly
- Ask for feedback from those who can be honest with you
- Record yourself and listen to the recording
- Prepare your communication before communicating
When you do these things, you’ll be able to stay on topic and be clear.
Writing: The Importance of Simplicity
We’ve all come across people who feel the need to show how smart they are. They bloviate and use impressive words. However, they lose the ones they’re trying to communicate with because the one consuming the message is lost in the complicated words.
Break down your writing and speaking. Don’t fall into the trap of sounding smart by using big words.
Instead, show those you’re communicating with how simple things can be. Then, you’ll come across as wise.
It’s easy to ramble, find difficult to say words, and more. It’s extremely difficult to be concise and to the point.
Be simple. You’ll find your engagement will go up.
Nonverbal Communication: The Hidden Message
One thing many people forget is that you communicate with more than your words. Your facial expressions, body movements, and more can tell people if you’re excited, scared, or uninterested. These are some of the most challenging things to correct, as you can’t see them personally unless you’re looking in a mirror or watching a video recording.
Nonverbal communication often tells more than your words. People see your body movements and facial expressions and can pick up on how you’re really feeling.
Work on making your nonverbal communication as on-point as your verbal communication.
Communication is vital to building relationships. People will struggle to connect with you without clear, concise, and appropriate communication. I know I struggled with this as I began to speak more in front of audiences.
My nonverbal communication was terrible. I’d slouch, twitch, and look away from the audience. It was terrible.
Yet, when I began to implement some of the above techniques, I began to find that I was connecting with more people, and they were connecting with me. I was building relationships!
You’re going to want to build relationships with those you lead, communicate with, and more.