by Pamela Lund | Featured Contributor
What would you say if I told you there was one single thing you could do that would:
- Increase your income
- Boost referrals
- Improve your relationships with coworkers, employees, and clients
- Skyrocket your productivity
- Increase client satisfaction
- Enhance your personal life
- Reduce your stress and anxiety
(That last one tho, right? 🙏🏼)
I promise, it’s not meditation, manifestation, or journaling. What I’m talking about is something much more fundamental, but it has the potential to be life changing if put into practice – being a better communicator.
Communication isn’t limited to the words you say and write, it’s much more comprehensive. Communication is simply the exchange of information, but that can be achieved through art, touch, or even a sideways glance. Everything you do and the way you do it conveys information – for better or worse. For that reason, focusing on and improving your communication skills can have a dramatic impact on every part of your life and business.
Being a better communicator isn’t about learning new vocabulary or adhering to someone else’s style. It’s about being clear, effective, and efficient in the way you share information, as well as giving more thought to what others are trying to tell you. This can reduce misunderstandings, wasted time, and frustration for you and every single person you interact with, which will lead to all of the benefits I listed above.
Among the tips below for improving your email, phone, and in-person communication skills you will notice a few common themes. Slowing down to ensure you’re communicating clearly, being mindful of what you are conveying, and focusing your full attention on the conversation at hand are all practices that will translate to successful communication, no matter the medium.
- Carefully read emails before responding. Make sure you understand what was said and ask questions if you don’t. If you don’t fully understand what you’re replying to, you’ll waste both your own time and the recipient’s in a much longer back and forth exchange attempting to clarify things that could have been addressed up front.
- Re-read your emails before you hit send. Don’t just skim them, take the time to slowly read what you’ve written with the recipient’s perspective in mind. Have you given them all of the information they asked for? Have you expressed yourself in a clear, concise way? Have you listed everything you need from them in return? Did you say anything that could be taken the wrong way or that might need more explanation?
- Pick up the phone or set up a time to speak in person if email isn’t getting the job done. Some topics aren’t ideal for written communication and can be handled much more efficiently and effectively with a verbal conversation.
- When on phone calls, jot down important items as the other person is talking so you can give them your full attention without the distraction of trying to commit everything they’ve said to memory. That way, you’ll be able to have a more productive conversation and can cover all the main points when you follow up with them.
- Have an agenda for every call, even if it’s just a quick list of topics, so that you don’t have to schedule a second call for things you forgot to address, or worse, try to work off of incomplete information.
- Be a better listener by breaking the habit of forming your response before the other person has finished speaking. When you start thinking about your response you’re no longer listening to the person and may miss important information.
- In person, be aware of your body language. Are you crossing your arms or facing away from the person you’re speaking with, giving them the impression that you’re feeling closed off or defensive? Are you making eye contact or looking at something else, giving the impression that you’re not interested or even untrustworthy?
- When you need to take action on something that was discussed, repeat back what you think the other person said and have them confirm that you understand correctly and completely. If you’re the one giving important information, ask for the listener to repeat it back to you.
When you first get started, slowing down and focusing this closely on your communication will take more time and effort, but it will eventually become something you can do without thinking twice and the payoff, both literal and figurative, will be well worth it.