Communicating is a skill like any other. It can be learned, enhanced and tweaked. Take a look at the following checklist, developed by Arnett, for business communications. The list can be easily adapted for everyday conversations as well.
Five powerful tips
for communicating success
1. Focus on what your listeners need to hear
There's an important, yet subtle difference between "here's my agenda" and "this is all about you." If you want to get your listeners' attention and move them to action, you must tell them what's in it for them.
We sometimes use the acronym, WIIFT/WIIFU (What's In It For Them? What's In It For Us) at The Arnold Agency to distinguish benefits for our clients as well as the agency.
2. Get the stress out of your voice
Powerful communicators present ideas in a concise manner that conveys personal control and builds confidence. Analyze your speaking style - and watch out for these common vocal and body language changes:
One painful habit is the tendency for presenters to turn statements into questions by ending sentences with a rising inflection. This can be very confusing? And annoying?
Don't let your stress show through in your voice or body language. Listeners always trust what they see and hear in your voice and body language before they believe your words.
3. Create enthusiasm for your listeners with your voice. Vary your pitch, tempo, phrasing and tone. Flat, boring voices are like a sleeping pill for your listeners.
4. Be direct, sincere and honest
People will respect you and develop confidence in you.
5. Feedback is your friend
To improve your communication power, first understand your style and delivery. Use a tape recorder or video so you can play back your communication. Be brave. Few things are as humbling as hearing your own voice on a tape recorder- and, in the case of video - a picture is worth a thousand words.
You may want to ask a trusted friend for feedback - or seek out professional tools from a library, bookstore, communications consultant or coach.
The bravest among you could even solicit the help of those around you - family members, friends or co-workers- to point out the times you overuse a particular word or phrase.
Linda Arnold is a certified wellness instructor and founder and chairman of The Arnold Agency, an integrated marketing communications firm in Charleston. Reader comments or questions may be mailed to Linda Arnold, The Arnold Agency, 117 Summers St., Charleston, WV, 25301 or e-mail livinglifefu...@arnoldagency.com.