Whether you are about to deliver a keynote speech or trying to present your department progress in the managers meeting, it always helps to know how to communicate effectively. So, in this blog post, we’ll share 10 secrets to improve and better your communication skills.
Improve your communication skills – Do better than 75% of your colleagues
Do you always struggle when it comes to doing a presentation or when you have to deliver a speech in front of any audience? Well, don’t worry, you are not alone. It is estimated that as much as 75% of the professionals cannot communicate effectively. So, by improving your communication skills, you will be able to become a better leader and have an edge over the rest of 75% of your colleagues.
Additional reading – How to speak like a leader – Public speaking tips from Simon Lancaster
So, let us go through our list of 10 ways to improve your communication skills.
1. Excel the non-verbal communication strategies
People listen to your words for only half of the time. Most of the time, they will keep following your physical ques. They will look at how you fill the space, use the gestures, and show confidence in what you say.
Therefore, make sure to learn and practice non-verbal communication strategies. Learn how to maintain the eye-contact, maintain a proper posture, and how to use the physical ques effectively. Open your arms, don’t slouch, and don’t make yourself looks smaller than you are.
2. Engage the audience in discussion
Keeping the attention of your audience to yourself is not going to be easy at all. Just tell something boring, and you will lose them within 5 seconds. So, how to overcome this?
The secret of keeping the attention of your audience is by engaging them in a discussion. Ask questions, have quick brainstorming sessions, encourage them to get into an interactive discussion. Try to stimulate the audience by asking factual or hypothetical questions. For example, you can ask questions about your competitors before revealing the facts.
3. Know when to move on to the next topic
One of the main ingredients of a boring presentation (or a speech) is the communicator trying to over-explain the topics. If you want to improve your communication skills, you must stop doing this immediately.
See how the stand-up comedians feel their audience and decide when to move on to the next joke. Similarly, you have to feel your audience and decide the right time to move on to the next topic. You can see at their body-language to decide the optimal time to move on.
4. Don’t run over as well
This is the other end of our third topic. If you want to improve your communication skills and become a better communicator, do not overestimate how much your audience understands. Since you researched the topic, you know what you are talking about. However, your audience will need some time to grasp your concepts.
So, as an effective communicator, you have to over-communicate and give them enough time to understand what you say.
5. Get to know your audience
Now, you might be thinking of how to stay away from these both ends. How to decide how long you will have to explain a topic? Well, the secret of delivering a compelling story begins with understanding your audience.
Apart from finding the right content and timing for your presentation, getting to know your audience will also help you to understand the cultural preferences of them. So, you can avoid getting into awkward situations by not saying offensive jokes or giving references that they might not understand.
6. Add a surprise factor
One secret of becoming a better communicator is by learning how to deliver your content in a way that your audience can retain the information. There is no point in doing a presentation, after which your audience will not remember a thing.
The best way to help your audience remember and retain your information is by adding a surprise factor to your speech. For example, you can try a storytelling approach to deliver your speech. Just try something that can catch people by surprise.
7. Don’t rely on a visual aid
Seriously, don’t open a PowerPoint presentation, unless it is absolutely needed! There are some companies that have banned the use of slide shows in regular presentations. If you want to show any stats or figures, open them individually and present.
Otherwise, as soon as you open a PowerPoint, half of your audience will fall asleep, and the rest of the half will read your presentation without listening to you.
8. Give the headlines first, and end with a summary
One way to improve your communication skills is by learning how to deliver a clear speech. To ensure that your speech (or presentation) is clear, and your audience understands the key takeaways, you can provide the key points of your speech at the beginning.
Then, in the end, you can reiterate the key takeaways as a summary. By providing a clear path of how your presentation will flow, they will be able to engage and understand better.
9. Don’t practice word by word
If you want to improve your communication skills, you must have to learn how to speak spontaneously! Of course, you can prepare your points in advance. But, do not prepare a pre-written speech and try to remember it word-by-word!
Having a list of points will help you not to miss out anything in your speech. However, by delivering a spontaneous speech, you can become flexible to anticipate the audience’s feelings into your presentation. So, your speech will be more compelling and engaging. After all, it is boring to listen to a speech that isn’t natural.
10. Get feedback
Always seek to get feedback about your presentations and speeches from your team members and managers. These comments are crucial to improve your communication skills and to become a better communicator.
Also, try to record your speech and listen to it later. I know it sounds ugly to listen to your own voice. However, this practice will help you to learn the improvements that you would miss otherwise.
11. Bonus tip to improve your communication skills – Be a listener!
This secret has two parts!
First, you need to listen to the other great communicators to get an inspiration from how they speak and present. So, you can discover the areas for improvement.
Secondly, you have to listen to what your audience has to say. So, you can prepare to deliver the best answers that can create real value for your speeches and presentations.
Are you ready to improve your communication skills and become a better communicator?
If you struggle to communicate effectively, you will miss many opportunities as an employee or a business leader! Having effective communication skills is mandatory for every professional, from giving an elevator pitch to delivering a keynote speech.
Therefore, we really hope the above 11 secrets will help you to become a better communicator soon!
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