Nov 292012

Five Tips To Be A Better Communicator

If you want to be a better communicator, take a moment to consider these five tips, then give them a try.

1.)   Be Concise:  Don’t use 100 words to say something you can say in 50 words.  It’s easy to become enamored of your own voice, which may cause you to drone on and lessen your effectiveness as a communicator.  I’ll leave it at that.

2.)   Have A Point:  Don’t speak for the sake of speaking.  Have a point, especially when you’re trying to be persuasive or explain something.  It’s one thing if you’re having a coffee or a beer with a friend; the importance of having a point in such a scenario is diminished.  In a business or teaching situation on the other hand, it’s very important to have a point in mind before you start talking.

3.)   Don’t Have Too Many Points:  It’s tough for most people to remember long lists.  It’s even tougher if the list is comprised of complex points.  Many memory experts say stick to a list of seven or fewer points, if you want your audience to remember them.  Based on my experience, I’d suggest having a maximum of three key points you’d like your audience to remember.  Better yet, have just one and hit it from a bunch of different angles.  Obviously, this is not one size fits all, but in most instances, you’ll want to stick to a small number key points, or you will confuse your audience.

4.)   Use Words And Metaphors That Will Resonate With Your Audience:  If you’re speaking to a Board of Directors, a CEO group, or a bunch of Marketing Vice Presidents, the words you’ll use will be completely different than those you’ll use when speaking to a group of politicians or museum curators.  This is true if you are speaking to individual people from groups such as these as well. Each audience has its own buzzwords and hot buttons.  It’s key to use examples, phrasing and metaphors that resonate with your audience.  If not, you will not pass the Ethos, Pathos, Logos test and you will be far less likely to effectively get your point across.

5.)   Listen More Than You Talk:  Listening to and understanding your audience are critical aspects of being an effective communicator.  Unfortunately, often times it’s tempting to be formulating your next great thought while your audience is trying to communicate with you.  Given the difficulties with effectively multitasking, the likelihood of your being able to formulate your thoughts and process those of your counterpart at the same time are very small.  If you don’t empathize with your audience, they will sense that.  It’s a sixth sense that most people have.  Not only will they sense it, but it will make it far less likely that they listen to and understand your message.  The law of reciprocity is alive and well in effective two-way communication.

Give these tips a try and see if they help you to communicate more effectively.

I look forward to your thoughts!  Please leave a comment (“response”) below or in the upper right corner of this post.

Paul Morin

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  • Pawel

    These are all great points! I feel like I have learned to use another tip for better communication – Share what will happen next. A lot of times I have a to-do list when I am communicating and so the other person understands what the next steps are, but it’s also very motivational for the person to know what is going to happen after all of the next steps happen. That way the group or person you are talking to understands what needs to be done and can look forward to future rewards/benefits. Just a interesting though:) Great article!

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  • Those tips could really helps promote communication skills. They say that a great listener is also a great speaker and I totally agree.

  • Agreed, Laura — listening well is extremely important for effective communication!