5 SECRETS TO IMPROVING YOUR COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Not all communicators are leaders, but all leaders are some form of communicator. Communication is such a simple skill, and yet so many people struggle with the ability to get their message across.
#1: Good Communicators know it is more than just words, but the ability to Connect with your Audience.
The true test of a communicator is their ability to CONNECT over just COMMUNICATE.
When I was early in my career I started in the church world. In the church world you NEED to know how to communicate. And I was always amazed at how two different preachers could preach the same message, and yet have two very different results. The difference was their ability to connect with their audience.
Connection is harder than most think.
Think about the person that you connect with the best in your life.
Your best friend?
What makes these great connections? Why do you feel close to these people?
You care for them
You have common ground
You have memories together
You’re vulnerable with them
In the same way we have to understand our team and audience. Whenever we connect with people, these attributes and characteristics of our communication are CRITICAL for our connection with people.
Remember, people don’t care about the words you say until they FEEL the words you say.
#2: Great Communicators are Confident
Take out all the outlines (which is key), and the preparation (which is key), and put a good communicator in front of a team or group and they will do just fine.
Good communicators are CONFIDENT. Confidence will come out in how you carry yourself on a stage or a group. Your confidence will make your presence known and connect.
You confidence will allow you to be vulnerable and let your passion fly, but how do we get this confidence I speak of specifically as a communicator?
Communicating publicly is like learning spanish.
Most of you probably took spanish I assume in highschool, and I am curious of how much you actually remember?
Probably not much.
Because you didn’t practice. Maybe you did at one time, but you lost it. Our education system around languages loves flashcards and tests, but the communicators that are smart know that all that matters at the end of the day is if you can actually hold a conversation or not.
This is the same as a speaker.
Here’s my tip.
Find Your Safe Stage
What do I mean by this?
When I was starting out as a communicator, my “safe stage” was the Open Door Mission. This was the place I worked at during the time, and they gave me a stage to speak at the chapel.
Now this space was a gracious space for me to try things, create things, and fail. It was where I got comfortable communicating in front of others.
Here is the truth.
You need reps, and the only place you will get them is finding a safe space to practice your talks, communicate in front of others, and fail and grow at the same time.
#3: Great Communicators speak from the Heart.
There is nothing worse than hearing someone sell something to you that they don’t believe in themselves. Have you ever been there? Like as they are sharing it is painfully obvious they don’t really believe in the words they are saying.
Communication whether we like it or not is an emotional thing. You can tell the mood, the belief, and the passion just by hearing people.
The other day I was listening to one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches at a church. It wasn’t a very popular speech of his, but it’s one that moves me EVERY time.
“Do you believe in a cause so much that you would be willing to die for it?”
It almost brings tears to my eyes because I know he WAS willing to die for his cause, and sadly he did.
His words carried, and still carry, the weight of belief, passion, and conviction.
As leaders and communicators I believe we have to evaluate our convictions when we communicate. Are we teaching things that bring us life? Are we sharing the things that move us to move other people?
#4: Great Communicators are aware of Details (body language/tone/eye contact)
This one gets overlooked by a lot of leaders and I don’t blame them.
Your body communicates 70% of what you’re trying to say, but it’s also I believe the least talked about when it comes to communication.
Here are some examples of good and bad body language/details for communicators
Saying Um….. too much
Moving your feet too much (nervous walking)
Stepping away from people on stage (backing away)
Hands in your pockets
Not making eye contact with anyone
Stuck in your notes
Quiet speaking only
Hands used for a purpose
Feet used for a purpose (Stepping with words)
Being vulnerable (but not overly vulnerable)
Practice the small things, and the large results will follow.
One of the ways you can do this is watching a video your last talk. I know most of us don't like this, but this allows us to see the blindspots we have, and focus on them.
#5 Great Communicators Prepare really, really well.
Preparation is KEY.
We all know this, but most don't do it.
Something we may not realize is how much people look at the details. When you are a communicator, people's full attention (or at least most) of it is on YOU. Which for some can be nerve racking and for some exciting.
Which means people can tell if you were prepared or winging it.
I use to do this a lot, and just let me tell you it WILL catch up to you.
As leaders we also do this with our teams too often. We come to a meeting not prepared and wing it because we have done it our whole career. But if we want our organizations and teams to be on ANOTHER level, we MUST prepare. This also will give you confidence as you share.
Our teams and audiences deserve our best, so let’s bring our best!
When it comes to outlines, here is a quick resource that you can use when you share publicly, or in a conference room.
Problem we are solving today
I pray this resource helped you!
If you have any questions, email me at email@example.com and I would love to help.