Nowadays, most of the problems that occur are due to problems in communication. This highlights how being a strong communicator is not an easy task, despite we all would greatly benefit from being great communicators.
It does not matter whether you work or study, in which field, which country do you live in, your age… We all need to master communications to a high level of skill in order to sell our ideas to others, build strong relationships with those who are close to us, succeeding in our jobs (or finding a good new job in a job interview), and overcome many other situations.
What is a good communicator?
There is no judgement that comes without a certain degree of subjectivity. We all have our preferences and those will determine how good a communicator is someone perceived.
However, people do share a common idea of who is a strong communicator, and this is, someone who looks like he firmly believes and knows about what he is talking about.
It is fair to say that if you manage to make others understand your message, leaving them an impression that you believe it. Most people will be left with an impression that you are good at speaking.
Would you want to be that person? Then continue reading this guide, where we will explain what are the DO’s and DONT’s to be perceived as someone who is connected to his audience, and is able to make others act.
What is important in communication?
In communications, there are three “V’s” that will matter to you, these are:
1. Visual: How we look?
For example, Our facial expressions, or how we dress. This accounts for approx 50% of all the information that our audience will receive when we engage with them.
2. Vocal: How we sound?
E.g. Our voice tone or how loud we speak. This aspect accounts for 40% of what our audience will perceive from us.
3. Verbal: What we say?
Our choice of words. This accounts only for the 10% of what our audience receives.
You do not believe it ? Think about examples of erroneous messages or communications that politicians or famous people have said, yet, because they had the right tone and looks, their audience did not respond badly to them (or worse, they applauded what they said!).
If you can recall those cases (we certainly can recall some funny anecdotes) then this is because it is right that most people pay more attention to the combination of Visual and Vocal than Verbal.
The foes of good spokespeople
Now we know that in order to be a good communicator we need to align the three factors: Sound, look and speak like we know what we are talking about.
Then what are the pitfalls we are going to prevent us from being a charismatic public speaker?
Those are fear and anxiety, awkwardness, shyness and resulting boring to our audience.
How to avoid them?
We know that you will be familiar to those terms, so we will go straight into describing how to avoid them. Consider nine recommendations below.
1. Make a strong introduction.
The ugly truth is that more often than not, people will not have time for you.
Nowadays everyone is busier than ever, so you will need to open your conversation (or speech) with something that is interesting to your audience, right from the first sentence.
If you do not manage to get people’s attention in the first ten seconds, it is unlikely that you will capture their attention later.
So address your audience’s problems first, and use the first few seconds to give a hint of what the main topic of the conversation is going to be about.
2. Avoid self-doubts.
It is a fact that yourself and others may not be immediately interested, or agree with what you need to say, even if you deliver the message in a perfectly right way.
So do not let initial disagreements or facial expressions (such as someone in your audience rolling eyes) distract you from what you have to say. Once you start delivering a message that you need to say, deliver it completely without interruptions.
Assess if you have a severe lack of confidence, and in that case, consider preparing your speech or meetings with more anticipation. Coming prepared with different responses to questions that your audience can make will help you to reduce anxiety and sounding reliable.
3. Do not feel the need to reach perfection.
You do not need to make a perfect speech, because it does not exist, focus on making an appropriate one instead.
The same speech will sound a bit different for each member of your audience. That is fine, as long as by the end of your speech, you have managed to deliver your message to everyone in your audience.
Also, knowing that no speech is perfect will help you to reduce anxiety when you realize that you made a mistake during your talk. You can always take a step back and restart the point with renewed strength and that will be just fine.
4. Know your topic.
Without getting to know your topic, you will be able to make a strong opening, only to lose people’s attention when inconsistencies start popping up in your talk.
You do not need to be an expert in everything, but when you make a speech, or gather colleagues in a meeting, people will expect you to know what you are speaking about – and rightly so -.
An advice to know your topics better is focusing on what you know better and you have a natural appetite for. Try to avoid making public talkings about topics that are largely unknown to you, and when this happens, take your time to learn more in the first place.
5. Do not disconnect from your speech
Avoid any external factors to ruin the conversation. Whether those come from others, like interruptions, or from your own intrusive thoughts, those will cause you to change the way you look, and sound.
Because visuals and vocals are combined, the 90% of what your audience will perceive, they will notice it, and also will be disconnected from the topic. So getting their attention back on the topic again will be more difficult.
When a disconnection is inevitable, get back on track as soon as possible. The longer the distraction lasts, the more your audience will have forgotten about the point you were trying to make, and while repeating what you just said may be the only option left, every time you repeat something it is perceived as less engaging, more boring.
6. Choose your words correctly.
Adapt to your audience when you are choosing your words. Each of the words in your speech should matter, otherwise drop them from your message.
When possible, use clear, simple and unique words. Avoid unnecessarily technical jargon, conjunctions or popular sayings.
Also avoid your words flowing into different ideas. You should never try to combine more than two or three ideas in one single speech and when there is more than one idea, make sure to use pauses between your topics so that your audience understands where you are.
7. Remember that you are speaking to your audience, not to yourself.
No one knows better what you are trying to say than yourself, therefore do not expect that it is easy for your audience to be fully synchronized with you. It is your duty to make it easy for them to receive your message.
Try to avoid speaking to yourself during your speech, this causes racing thoughts and is going to make you look disengaged from the conversation, thus you will not be able to build trust.
As you remember that you speak to an audience, and not yourself, you will remind yourself that you need to read their signs and adapt what and how you say things based on what they need.
For example, you can avoid repeating information just because you think the person is not yet convinced. Or in the other extreme, assuming that your audience have understood everything you said and flying across topics, leaving your audience confused
In a nutshell, speak for the benefit of others, pay attention to their non-verbal signs and adapt your talk to their
8. Portray a strong image of yourself.
When you feel signs announcing that you are starting to get nervous, rather than panicking and starting a cycle of negativity, remind yourself of the image of how you want to look like and sound like.
Let this image be your lighthouse and guide you back to your best version of yourself, confident sounding and convincing.
9. Breath naturally
When we are anxious we tend to hold breath. This is an automatic response from our nervous system that is difficult to control. Worse, this makes it more difficult for you to sound convincing as your body is lacking oxygen and causes the impression that you are not convinced of what you say.
When this happens, remember that you have time to say your speech, and allow yourself to take small pauses. When possible, create brief silence moments to serve a double purpose: Breathing and hearing what your counterpart has to say, or to build momentum in your speech.
Consider learning how to better breathe with different techniques – consider even taking some specialized courses, after all breathing is (with sleeping and eating) one of the fundamental things to live -.
Correcting certain bad habits in breathing is not easy as those are lifetime habits, but it is certainly not impossible, and one of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself.
10. Improve your visuals.
Use your eyes – look at the audience when you are delivering an important part of your message, make occasional eye contact when you want to say something with sincerity -, and your hands – away from your body, waving them according to your message in a firm and strong manner, making you look like a leader – to give the right visual messages to your audience and looking like someone who knows what he says.
Keep the right facial expression, mirroring the voice tone you choose to deliver your message.
Do not be overly static, sway with your message to avoid sounding monotonous. Your audience will disconnect from your message if you sound boring, so align your physical position with your tone, and words to deliver believable messages.
Consider who is your audience and choose the right dress-code for each event, try not being under or over-dressed for each occasion, and when you have the chance, make your clothes help deliver the message.
Last, try to keep one face at a time. Avoid exaggerated facial expressions, blinking too much, or changing faces too often without connection to your message, you will only distract your audience from your message.
Do you want to learn with us to be a better communicator ?
Do you need to become better at interviewing for a new vacancy of the job of your dreams, or, are you building a team and struggling to make candidates see how enthusiastic your project is?
Or are you looking for training for yourself or your organization to become better at communicating your ideas, and reaching your goals ?
We can help!
Contact Fut-Ure, deliver your message in the right way to start building your future. Now!