If you have ever launched a business or ever did a job, you know that communication is the basis of everything you do. It’s the core skill that can either get you to the top of the world or take you nowhere. But why do many of us research on almost every aspect of business skills in college/ school and don’t focus on building basic skill that will eventually be the most important thing you will need to attain success.
I am not sure if you ever focused on building this skill, but I am sure why you should. In easy words, your career depends on it.
The Art of Communication is not just about staying in touch with people or clients. It is not about letting them know about the project or sending updates or exchanging text just for the sake of communicating. It is the art of communicating for the purpose of understanding. Unless you focus your communication for the sake of making them understanding things from your perspective, you have reached your goal. of course, its not that easy to do that in the first stage.
So what is the goal of communication? Let’s Hear a Story.
A guy was walking by. He took the board, turned it around and wrote something over it. After some time, the guy came back to see what the things were up to. He was amazed to see much more coins with the beggar. Curious what he wrote?
“Today is a beautiful day and I cannot see it”
The first board simply said he was blind, but other board made people feel lucky that they were not blind. That’s what appealed to them.
This is a form of communication. You can see how a good set of communication skills can change a person’s perspective on a situation. This world is all about presenting yourself. Your success is directly proportional to the efficiency and skills at it.
So how can you improve your communication skills in short time? Here are some thing you can do right now.
1. Develop Intra-personal Communication.
Think in English. Talk to yourself in English in your mind. Plan your day in English. Talk about things you see in English. For instance, talk about the weather while walking on the road. “Oh, It’s so hot today. Should have brought umbrella to avoid the scorching sun. The road is so narrow and dirty. Who puts all this trash on the road? I hope I reach office on time today. Why isn’t the bus coming? Been standing here for so long.”
2. Try to imitate/emulate/reproduce/mirror/copy the speakers you admire.
Listen to speech or dialogues and repeat it out loud. Repeat it until you feel satisfied. It will be fun and when you do it frequently, you will start enjoying it. This will help mouth, lips and vocal chords get into action. This will also help in losing the mother tongue influence and gaining good pronunciation.
3. Watch News. Journalists are very good communicators
The news channels try to be succinct because more words costs them more money. Observe the choice of words of the journalists, guests, experts, correspondents who try to put forth their argument in a convincing and persuasive manner. Observe how they present a story in a structural manner.
4. Pick a topic to talk about
Pick any topic and start speaking. Talk about the articles you read. Express your thoughts on issues like Deforestation, Climate Change, World Hunger and Poverty, Global Warming, Global Financial Crisis, Human Population, Environmental Issues, etc with your friends. You can even talk about your morning.
5. Paint a picture with your thoughts
Go to flickr and describe the photograph to your friend. Try to paint the picture with your words. Speak about the contents of the picture, the expression of the people. What do you feel when you see the picture? Does it remind you of something? Try to express yourself.
6. Watch the TV shows you like.
Watch television shows like Seinfeld (any show you like; I am just a big fan of seinfeld) with subtitles to see how the thoughts are expressed effectively and concisely in humorless or humorous manner. Watch anything you enjoy. It is important that you enjoy what you are watching. Observe the body language, emotions and expressions in connection with the speech or dialogues.
7. Listen to podcasts & Radio Programmes
Listen to any topics you like. You can download the podcasts to your portable devices and listen to them anywhere, anytime.
8. Sing Along
Everyone has a little singer in them. You can do this when you are tired and taking a break.
9. Watch YouTube
10. Grow your vocabulary
Improve your vocabulary to communicate effectively and efficiently. How can I improve my English vocabulary?
11. Read more.
Exercising without having food will not be helpful. Think of reading and listening as input to your brain and speaking and writing as output from your brain. So get more input to your brain by reading and listening. Read from a variety of topics, genre and authors. Don’t restrict yourself to a single author or topic.
12. Learn, Apply and Improvise
There are always three steps involved in the process. Learn, Apply and Improvise. So by reading and watching you will learn but you have to apply what you learn by speaking and listening to real people. And when you start applying what you learn frequently you try to improvise. That’s the way to improve.
13. Start Speaking.
Even if you have never spoken on a stage before, well you definitely should try that. There are also many communities to develop public speaking skills such as ToastMasters Club which is available worldwide.
14. Speak out loud.
The best way to improve your language skills is by speaking the language. There is no substitute for practicing with real people.
15. Start Blogging
Blogging on your personal or professional website is just like penning down your everyday thoughts or any story you can think about. Blogging really helps in stream lining your thought process into a nicely understandable words for others. You must blog for atleast half hour a day.
Now that you have developed a great communication skill, there are some rules you should consider to follow when having a conversation with your clients/ customers. I have met tons of entrepreneurs in the past 5 years in my entrepreneurial journey and most of them doesn’t know how to make the best use of time when it comes to using social media/ technology to the core for communication.
So here are some rules:
1. Check emails twice a day: Emails are the most time consuming and an integral part of doing a business in modern world. Almost everything happens on email these days. From sending a simple file to share sensitive data and most of us spend countless hours trying to draft that perfect email that will eventually do the sales for you. Well, that’s not gonna happen anytime soon. Yes, of course drafting a good enough email is necessary but you don’t have to spend hours in that. Another part is if you are going to check a mail, make sure to answer or atleast start preparing what you are going to write. That will save you tons of time.
2. Use Instant Messaging service the way it is, Instantly: If you are going to check a whatsapp or Facebook messenger, you damn well answer something. Atleast “I will get back to you on this” is a perfect way to delay if you need some time. Most of us check a message and leave it for hours to get back with an answer, till then the person is probably thinking you are either dodging or ignoring them. Definitely not cool in the world of business.
3. Don’t underestimate the power of a phone call: Let me confess something, I hate calling anyone. Not because I don’t like to talk but I feel very awkward while talking to anyone on call. I have missed a lot of opportunities just because of this one weakness which I am glad is not a problem anymore. Never underestimate the power of a phone call to a client. Atleast call them once a day to make sure everything is going smoothly, they will definitely appreciate it.
Communication is a skill that develops with experiences and constant reflection of how you act in a situation with clients/ customers. Make sure to keep your learning hat on at all times.