6 Simple Strategies To Become A Better Communicator

In one of my newsletters on Linkedin, I wrote about some public speaking/communication blunders we often commit that hold us back. And I think it is only half my job done if I point out the problems and not talk about the solutions.

So today’s post, I am going to talk about a few strategies to correct those errors and become a better communicator!

Spoiler alert: Some of these tips are secret sauces that I share only with my coaching clients

STRATEGY #1: USE SPEAKING TOOLS

What are speaking tools?

Speaking tools are devices that you can use to enhance your communication.

For instance, stories, questions, statistics, examples, analogies, metaphors – there are tons of speaking tools that you can use to be an impactful communicator.

How do speaking tools help?

  • Speaking tools add pizzazz to your speech/presentations and make you stand out
  • They are extremely useful in adding variety to your voice modulation without trying too hard

Most importantly, speaking tools help break the monotony in your speech

Let’s take questions, for instance.

You can use them at the beginning a meeting to generate engagement – “How’s everyone doing today?” OR “Are we all excited to discuss the new project?”

The great thing about questions is that they don’t always need to be answered.

Rhetorical questions do all the same functions – of breaking the monotony, engaging the listeners and still not using up time waiting for answers.

For example, “Do I have to tell you how the client will react to this?” No answers necessary here.

These are just a few ways to use one of the tools I have mentioned here.

You can find more speaking tools you can use here

STRATEGY #2: DEVELOP A PRACTICE SYSTEM

A practice system is the single most important thing that’ll help you shine as a powerful communicator. I call it a system because it has to get done everyday. Sporadic attempts to work on your communication when the mood strikes will never work.

I get my clients to create what I call – the 20-20-20 system of practice. Set an hour out every day (at least week days) and divide that into 20 minute slots to do various practice activities.

I also set an activity schedule so that my clients don’t have to wonder what to do once the practice time starts. They can straight away get to work.

If you need ideas, you can always pick something from one of my previous newsletters: 51 ways to improve your communication or talk to me here

STRATEGY #3: WORK WITH A COACH

This is a master strategy that can put everything else into place. Self-motivation can be hard. We may not find the time. Work and life keep getting in the way.

Working with a coach is a commitment you make to taking a goal to its logical end.

  • Coaching brings a certain discipline where you set time apart to work on your communication every week

Working with a coach can help you stay on track and be accountable to the goals you set

  • Working with an expert also saves you time wasted on trial and error. Or starting and giving up and getting back to it.

A good coach should be able to correctly identify your areas of improvement and help you practically work on them.

You can learn more about the one-on-one coaching programs I offer here

If you wish to talk to me about improving your own communication, let’s talk

Mayank was the director of his department. He was great at communicating and connected well with his audience. But then the world went virtual and that threw him off his game.

Suddenly, the rules of communication that we followed all our lives weren’t so effective any more. His audience was no longer sitting in front of him. The critical non verbal cues were missing from most conversations.

The pandemic has been a challenging time for all of us. But it’s also like we were given super powers. We could mute ourselves right in the middle of meetings and even vanish if we wanted to.

But that’s fine as long as we are on the listening end of a conversation. Sooner or later, we got the virtual stage and were expected to work our magic! But the old rules of the game didn’t work!

Remember some of these new strategies

STRATEGY #4: REMEMBER YOU ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOUR CONTENT

I think it is safe to say that since times immemorial, ppts have been used to hide behind or made into crutches to support ourselves through presentations.

But in my coaching experience – with directors and middle managers alike – the content comes alive only when the speaker makes it happen.

No matter how colourful your slide deck is or how well researched your content, unless you present it in an interesting manner, all the effort on content is a waste.

No one’s excited about slides moving at a glacial pace and a voice droning on. Trust me! That wasn’t a great idea even with audience sitting in front of you.

So how do I bring the content alive, you ask? Check out the next tip!

READ: 14 tips to making your presentation boring (some apply even in the virtual world)

STRATEGY #5: YOUR VOICE IS YOUR POWER

…but often the most under-rated in communicating effectively. Most of us tried to use the old formula of slides first and hoped it’ll work in the virtual world too. But it didn’t.

The only way to hold the audience attention when we are just a voice is to use it in the best possible manner.

Modulate your voice to convey emphasis.

Alternate your rate of speech between fast and slow to convey key points. Ditch your slides and prioritise focussing on your voice.

Get a coach and work on your communication. A good coach should be able to help you understand the range of your voice and work with it to create impact.

WATCH: How to improve voice modulation

Here’s another video:

STRATEGY #6: ENDING MATTERS TOO

While we pay attention to and rehearse how we will begin our talking parts, we tend to ignore the ends.

It’s not for nothing that endings of movies are much anticipated parts. We want to know how it all ended. And if you making a presentation that’s worth making, focus on the end too.

Finishing your part with “That’s it” is a very un-impactful end.

If a great beginning captures the attention of the audience, a strong ending leaves a memorable after taste

So end your presentations on a high note too. Summarise the key points. Or thank everyone and open the floor for questions. Or hand over the virtual mic to the next person in line maybe with a couple of lines about their role in the meeting.

WATCH: How to end your speech with impact

What are some of the tips that you’ve discovered during your virtual presentations?

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If you wish to talk to me about improving your own communication, let’s talk

 

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