3 Mistakes to Avoid for Powerful Communication
Communicating may be an everyday necessity, but not everyone is good at it. Understanding how to communicate well will benefit your career in more ways than one. Not only will it enhance your performance in meetings but it can also aid your overall success as a business leader.
Here are some mistakes to avoid and tips to help add power to your communications to build trust and respect, and heighten your connection with others.
1 - Choose your words carefully
While you may feel like you are a good communicator, it only takes one or two words to reduce the power of your speech. ‘Just’ is one of those words that can diminish the effect your words have on others. Especially when it is referring to yourself or others. ‘Sorry’ is another word that instantly weakens your position when spoken out loud.
There are many negative words in your vocabulary – and you may turn to many of them through habit without even realising it. Instead of “try”, say “do”. Use “definitely” over “maybe”. And try to avoid prefacing your words with apologetic sounding statements such as, “I’m not sure if you can, but” and “I hate to bother you, but”! Opt for strong words to display your inner confidence and set the tone of the conversation.
2 - Practice your non-verbal body language
Your non-verbal body language could be giving you away, and you may not even know it! Amy Cuddy, an expert on body language from the Harvard University, has some interesting things to say on this very subject. Cuddy and her research team have determined that poses can be broken down into high power or low power poses. The high power poses are more open and relaxed while the low power poses are more defensive and closed off.
To help you counteract your more negative poses, and we all have them, try practising what is termed the “Wonder Woman” pose. Stand tall with your chest out and place your hands on your hips. Both males and females can do this pose on a daily basis. You may have heard the term, fake it until you make it. Well, keep practising it, until this pose and others like it, becomes customary to your actions. Two minutes a day should be enough to show your body how it must act. Remember, the stronger your pose, the more your message will carry.
3 - Above all else, listen
A strong talk and a confident walk will not be enough if you fail to listen – really listen. It can help you develop your rapport with others and makes your team feel valued above all else. Active listening, or engaged listening as it is sometimes known, is a definite skill and assures your colleagues they have been heard and understood.
Active listening also means listening without judgement or criticism. By demonstrating your ability to listen, the conversation will tend to flow more naturally. Once the speaker has finished, then you can clarify what they have said and move forward from there. This will reduce any miscommunication by either party. As screenwriter Charlie Kaufman penned in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, “Constantly talking isn’t necessarily communicating.”
Effective communication is at the centre of everything you do. Practice these tips to ensure that you are strengthening your relationships and seeing real results. There will come a time when these three aspects of communication become second nature, and you won’t have to give then another thought.
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