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5 Things Effective Communicators Share in Common

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Off the top of your head, picture one or two of the best and most influential communicators you can think of.

Nelson Mandela, Steve Jobs, Maya Angelou, Ghandi, President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, Malala Yousafzai, Tina Fey, are only a few among many other prominent and inspirational figures that might come to mind.

Even though we’ve been communicating since we were born, it’s safe to say it’s easy, but not everyone’s naturally born a good communicator. Not everyone is effective and skillful at doing it. To be good at it, it takes more than basic language and sentence structure; body language, cadence, and genuineness are some of the factors that strengthen this skill.

Image source: Malala Fund Blog

On the bright side, it’s not too difficult to attain. It’s a skill one can learn and master with practice. It’s like driving a car, with continuous practice, it can take you to great places. Here are few qualities great communicators share in common.

They listen and absorb information.

Don’t you dread the feeling of talking only to realize later that no one is listening to you?

Communication is a two-way process: someone listens while the other speaks and vice-versa. Great communicators know how equally, if not more than, important and essential listening is to speaking. Add to that, without anyone actively listening, how are they able to retain any information you’re voicing out?

You should take note of this as well. Whenever someone is speaking, lend them your ears and only speak when you’re asked. Pay attention to them and not about what you should say while they’re still going on about the topic. This way, you’ll know how and what to rightfully and appropriately respond.

They establish a good foundation.

Get personal. People wouldn’t listen if they think you’re talking about something of no significant value to them; if they can’t resonate, they won’t participate.

How did Steve Jobs introduce the first game-changing iPhone that dominated the smartphone industry? He expressed his disposition on then-current smartphones which are “not so smart” and “not so easy to use,” without the complex analysis. He launched it in a simple manner where everyone, even a layman, can relate to, akin in a conversational and personal level.

By talking about how the product will benefit and make life easier for the consumer, he built an audience of raving fans. You see, you only need to build a solid foundation and get personal with the audience. It doesn’t need to be deep but so long as it exists, it’s a good sign.

They remain curious.

Like a 5-year old child, great communicators always ask the right questions. Not because they don’t listen, but because they want to clarifications and they want to get a better understanding in the discussion. Also, they question their audience to confirm whether or not their points were delivered clearly.

Make sure that you’re asking politely otherwise you may come off unintentionally and unconsciously condescending. If you’re the one with the mic, you can ask the audience or the person you converse with in a nice way by shifting the focus on you. For example, “Am I explaining this well?” if you’ll be the one asking and “Can you elaborate on that?” is a polite way to ask.

They present facts.

No one wishes to diminish their credibility. If you’re unsure of the facts, you can either admit you’re not too familiar with them and ask about it or don’t say anything at all. Giving out inaccurate information might sound good in conversation but can come back to bite you later!

It is easy to get carried away in the middle of conversations and skip the fact check, but you can prevent this from happening. Ask yourself how accurate your facts are before you speak!

They pay attention to nonverbal communication.

Communication isn’t just made up of words. Body language and behavior is just as important as spoken communication. Great communicators are skillful at identifying non-verbal cues; they don’t just listen and hear what others say. They pay close attention to how they say it. They also look for subtle meaningful gestures and movements as well.

If you learn and practice these skills and incorporate them in your day-to-day interactions, you are steps closer to being a good communicator. These will aid you in reaching personal growth and career success.

What other communicational attributes do you think other great communicators share in common? We’d like to know your thoughts, leave a comment below!

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Business

Life Hack: Use Public Speaking to Improve Your Life

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Public speaking is undeniably one of the greatest tools that can help us achieve great things in life. But despite the fact, we know how speaking in front of a crowd can be a whole lot scary. That’s why we compiled this list — a summary of ways on how public speaking can improve your life — as a way to motivate you in working towards developing your public speaking skills.

Improve your self-confidence.

Everyone, including us experts in the field, has his or her fair share of nerve-wracking experiences when it comes to communicating to the public. But the thing is, we cannot really avoid these situations if we want to be successful in life.

Public speaking helps increase the level of your confidence. Being able to overcome your fear is a very powerful thing to accomplish. It boosts self-confidence not just in facing a crowd, but also in smaller situations like talking on the phone, introducing yourself to a possible business partner, nailing an interview, or even doing a small talks in parties.

Succeed in your career.

Probably one of the most beneficial area in your life is your professional career, and it can actually help you in many different ways more than one.

If you are a salesperson, good public speaking skills can help you become more persuasive and give you better chances of closing a deal. If you are an aspiring executive, great communication skills can help you be easily remembered as a thought leader. And the benefits of this life hack goes on. Needless to say, public speaking is one of the most important skill to work on if you want to successfully climb the corporate ladder.

Becoming a better leader.

Do you notice how big bosses are so good in public speaking? Because yes, it is imperative that you are a great speaker when you have people under your umbrella. As a leader, your job is to give direction to your team. And as you go on fulfilling this role, you have to have a good public speaking skill.

When you are able to communicate confidently, clearly, and effectively, people will be keen on following you.

Improve your relationships.

Whether you are thinking of your family relationships, romantic relationship, or work relationships, public speaking has a way of improving all these. We all know too well how a good communication builds a sturdy foundation for a long lasting relationships, right?

Being a good public speaker gives you the ability to control your thoughts and emotions before letting a word come out of your mouth. Knowing the right words to say at the right moment and the moment to best to speak can really go a long way in avoiding misunderstanding and expressing what you really want to mean.

Influencing other people.

If you want your thoughts to be heard, one of the best ways to do is to start get it is by honing your public speaking skills. Think of it, you are presented with two salesman offering a certain product. If you had to pick one, which one would you choose? who are you most like to choose — the so-so speaker who read through his deck the whole pitch, or the better one who stood confidently and seems to know every word that came out of his mouth?

You see, it doesn’t only apply in the corporate setting. Being a good speaker can also you influence other people easily with regards to your beliefs or  a brand you’ve been advocating. Good communication skills give you the ability to drive change.

So hey, don’t let fear hinder you from experiencing all these great life hack opportunities. Take a bold step in honing your public speaking skills. Later on you will thank yourself for being able to enjoy the fruits of your public speaking skills.

Author Bio: Clement Chio is professional communication coach and the owner of Speech IONIZERS – a company aiming to be one of Asia’s leading professional development institutions and the authority in public speaking.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

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Motivation

6 Public Speaking Tips for Introverts

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Ask the people you know what they fear. More likely than not, you’ll get a lot of “fear of public speaking” or “presenting in meetings” as some of the top responses. It’s a common fear many people share. On the plus side, it’s the type of fear people can overcome.

When in a large audience, in meetings or a large party, it’s easy to spot who are the gregarious extroverts from the reserved introverts. There are many misconceptions about introverts; they’re not all that shy.

It may come as a surprise but many prominent figures and presenters are actually introverts behind their confident persona. For instance, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Emma Watson and Eleanor Roosevelt are introverts and the list goes on. Even actors such as Meryl Streep—three-time Academy Award winner—is a reserved and introverted person. Who knew?

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Photo by Skitterphoto

So for those of you who share the same fear and personality, fret not. Introverts may enjoy a hushed environment and being alone with their thoughts but contrary to their personality, they can be confident speakers as well. Overcome your fear of public speaking and develop a confident persona on stage, right on time for your speech.

Preparation won’t hurt

This is probably the oldest trick in the book: preparation is key to nailing an astounding presentation or speech. Take the time to craft every sentence, story and example thoroughly and logically. Also, if you need statistics and other data to support your statement, get your hands on those numbers and evidence.

This isn’t only practiced and advised to introverts. It’s also recommended by established speakers. Don’t dread practicing your speech out loud, it’s one of the easy ways to make you more comfortable when the time has come. Practice your presentation out loud so you can hear your voice, tone, and notice your other mistakes. It’s easier to point out where you go wrong or sound off that way.

Add to that your mental preparation. If you let your nerves take over your whole body and presentation, that’s where everything will go wrong. Meditate and perform breathing exercises before you step onto the podium.

Determine your strengths and weaknesses

You wouldn’t dare talk about sports if it isn’t your cup of tea, right? Don’t pretend to know more about a field you’re not into and don’t try to be someone else on stage. Identify your strengths and weaknesses and use them to your advantage.

Do you have a great sense of humor? Deliver your punchlines on stage. Add a pinch of humor to your presentation here and there. Focus on your strengths. Just because a certain tactic worked for a particular speaker doesn’t mean it can work the same for you.

See public speaking as a performance

It is a performance, though. Delivering a speech or presentation is a performance in nature. Many speakers sought after acting coaches as well to teach them acting techniques that would help them overcome their stage fright and better deliver presentations.

People love dressing up as fictional characters or impersonate other people. It gives them a sense of liberty and somehow, the mask creates a different persona which then boosts their confidence. It’s the same for speakers. Actors claim the stage; speakers own the podium.

Take note of other speakers

Surely you need a little push and motivation, don’t you think? Watch TED talk presentations and the likes and take a cue from them. Here’s Susan Cain’s The power of introverts to warm up your nerves.

And here’s Chris Anderson’s TED’s Secret to Great Public Speaking.

Watch and take note: notice what kind of ice-breakers they use and how effective they are, how they seem to construct their presentation, how they introduce their topic, how they engage with their audience, their body language, how they educate their audience, how they closed their presentation?

Not everyone is born leaders and great speakers, but it’s a skill even the most timid can learn, practice and develop over time.

Focus

Your nerves can get the best of you during these times so it’s critical to keep a clear head and focused mind. Otherwise, you might scramble your statements and disconnect from the audience.

Keeping your mindset firm and clearly directed towards your goal, you won’t get distracted by people checking on their smartphones or those who are falling asleep. Your mind will instead, focus on those who are listening. Don’t cut the connection between you and the audience only because of the sleep guy at the back of the room.

Your focus is to deliver your message across clearly and to make an impact on your audience. Fill your mind with positive and warm thoughts.

Give yourself credit

Once you’re on the podium, you wouldn’t even notice the time. So the moment it’s over, do congratulate yourself for your performance. Sure it may not be perfect or flawless than you hoped it to be, or it could be for some; still, congratulate yourself for your bravery.

Stir away from remembering the mistakes you had committed, the points you forgot and missed, the things you didn’t that you should’ve, and the likes. Instead, focus on the  courageousness you’ve demonstrated on stage—it’s another milestone for your quest of achievement. You deserve all the credit, don’t deprive yourself of it just because of a few minor mishaps.

If you think you’re introverted self is far from being the next Gates or Zuckerberg, you’re obviously wrong. These techniques will help you take the stage and become a more confident speaker.

Any other tips and techniques you have under your sleeve? Share it with us!

About Chie Suarez

Aside from providing tips and hacks in personal and career development, Chie Suarez is also a resident writer for The Fordham Company — one of Australia’s top celebrity management companies and a major celebrity speakers bureau.

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Inspiration

4 Leadership Lessons from the House of Frank

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Leadership lessons from Frank Underwood

“Power is a lot like real estate. It’s all about location, location, location. The closer you are to the source, the higher your property value.”

— Frank Underwood

Do you binge watch House of Cards like me? The fourth season of House of Cards has passed by so suddenly and now, we all have to play the waiting game to see what notorious President Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) will offer us next season.

Why is this series so addictive? It is because he is ruthless and driven mad by his own ambitions? Is Frank a good person; a good politician? Do you see a version of Frank Underwood inside you? 

Whether you love him or love to hate him, Frank Underwood is an effective leader, a great manipulator, and strategist. He knows what he wants and exactly how to get it.

I do not recommend you embody his persona and hunger for power. Instead, I encourage you to take note of his leadership qualities and replicate them in your own life. In this post, I share four leadership qualities that Frank Underwood displays. 

1: Stop complaining, find solutions

“What is the face of a coward? The back of his head as he runs from the battle.”

Throughout all four seasons and all the conundrums thrown at Underwood, you’ll observe that instead of complaining endlessly, you’ll see his relentless and master strategist side come to life. He would never turn his back at times of difficulties instead, he faces them untamed. 

He sees every setback as an opportunity to set up for a huge comeback. Several instances of Frank Underwood working his way through inevitable obstacles were demonstrated in Season 1, where his fight over his Education Bill against Martin (Marty) Spinella, the head leader of teacher’s union. Also, later in the series where the party’s leadership was unwilling to back him in the Presidential run.

These events show how truly resilient Frank Underwood is and how capable he is in finding better possibilities in each setback.

Image source: The Wrap

2: Be relentless

“I’ve always loathed the necessity of sleep. Like death, it puts even the most powerful men on their backs.”

There is no denying it: Frank Underwood is persistent and he never backs down easily… or even at all. We don’t advise you to skip sleep. Frank sees sleep as a vulnerability, and what does vulnerability imply? Weakness. What does he does instead? He keeps moving; he keeps on moving forward. 

From the early episodes of the series you will see that with all the handful of problems in his way, you won’t see him down on his knees or laying in atrophy. As a leader, he prepares himself for hard working days as well as encourages his team to mirror his relentlessness.

Rather than dodge all the hard circumstances, he welcomes it with a grin on his face and open arms. He’s positive that somehow in some ways, he’ll get around and through it. Dedication, commitment, and persistence are three key combinations that make a great leader.

3: Treat others fairly

“Friends make the worst enemies.”

This you can learn from Underwood in two different instances. First, whenever he pushes his colleagues too far and turns to publicly humiliate them. His hunger for power urges him to step over other people’s lives. No, that isn’t ideal. A great leader respects everyone as how he wants them to respect him.

The other example is how he treats Freddy, the BBQ joint owner. Despite Underwood’s success in life and ranking, he still goes back to the good old joint to churn on some good ribs. He treats Freddy kindly, far more respect than his political colleagues.

The bottom line is, treat everyone with respect and dignity. Without this, no matter how great of a leader you are, you won’t perform outstandingly.

Image source: The Hollywood Reporter

4: Stand your ground

“If you don’t like how the table is set, turn over the table.”

Frank speaks this out time and time again. Admit it or not; let’s face it, some cases you’ll need to say ‘no’ — even when interacting with executive members of your team. If there’s a strong feeling in your gut that needs to be uttered even if it’s turning down a suggestion and speaking your mind, do it.

Courage is what leaders have and is what led them to the top. It’s more than just a strategy, it’s stating your own valuable case.

He maybe a sociopath but at the end of the day, he’s the one sitting on the iron throne. What other leadership characteristics you think Frank Underwood embodies? Leave a comment below and share it with us!

About Chie Suarez

Aside from providing tips and hacks in personal and career development, Chie Suarez is also a resident writer for The Fordham Company — one of Australia’s top celebrity management companies and a major celebrity speakers bureau.

Featured Image source: House of Cards Facebook page

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