Great communication skills lead to success

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“It doesn’t matter whether you are in the business of delivering products or services – either way, your success depends heavily on communication. When things go wrong, you can almost always trace the problem to a breakdown in communication. And when things go right, it’s usually great communicators who helped create the successful results. It’s a necessary skill in every aspect of business, social and family life.

How you communicate will determine if you lead, command respect, earn trust and are well liked. Poor communicators will suffer from low self-esteem and frustration.”

This quote from Kevin Duam is so true. Becoming a great communicator is not just about handling big crowds or large audiences but it is in the everyday scenarios of life, in the seemingly insignificant one to one interactions. The great news is that these skills most certainly can be learnt and developed.

Skillful and hilarious communication!

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Take one, not very tall, man; some lights; a huge platform and 20,000 people… all laughing for one and a half hours!

It really is an experience to be in an arena of so many people all laughing together. Laughter is infectious and so good for us – it certainly does good like a medicine.

Such was our very enjoyable evening a few nights ago at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney where the hilarious Michael McIntyre was entertaining an enormous crowd with no props, no special effects and no visual aids at all.

It was a great feat of memorisation, engagement with the audience and energy to entertain so many with simply a voice and a body! Michael McIntyre’s ability to make the mundane and familiar so amusing; to laugh at culture and language and be so observant of the people to whose towns and cities he visits, is a gift.  He is a very humorous and skillful communicator.

Some key skills that he exhibited were having great energy and enthusiasm, content that connected with his audience and clearly hours and hours of practise. He was totally professional and flexible when a couple of ladies interrupted one of his stories, and handled the situation with grace and absolutely no sign of panic!!

A few keys for all us public speakers there!

Being a ‘Confident Communicator’

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I believe that, as individuals, we all want to be considered “a confident person”. We recognise the benefit of coming across to others as being fearless and self-assured. It is always interesting to clarify the exact meaning of words that we use so regularly …

‘confident’ –marked by assurance, as of success

having strong belief or full assurance

very bold

trust or faith in a person or thing

the state or quality of being certain.

Trust, assurance, aplomb, self–confidence … these nouns all denote a feeling of emotional security resulting from faith in one’s ability to achieve a certain goal.

So if we desire to be confident in the area of verbal communication we remember that a ‘communicator’ is someone who is skilled at conveying information or ideas to others. ‘Communication’ is the art and technique of using words effectively to exchange thoughts and to express oneself in such a way as to be readily and clearly understood.

Let’s put time, focus and intentionality behind achieving the above and we will be able to confidently say “I am a Confident Communicator!”

The Competitive Edge

 

People with good social skills earn more money!

 Recent research documented by the Harvard Business Review has shown that “People who have higher social skills, as measured by the survey, earn more money … than those with poor social skills. There seems to be a positive return to social skills in the labour market, according to the data, and the return is relatively greater when people are in jobs that require more interaction with others.”

The soft skills of good inter-personal communication and effective teamwork; getting on with your colleagues and connecting well with clients are extremely important. Much time, effort and training are put into hard skills but what good is a lawyer if he can’t effectively communicate with his clients … what good is a manager if she can’t speak with some emotional intelligence to her employees … what good is a leader who is unable to envision his team.

How we effectively communicate and connect with others could be the sole reason for success or failure in a project, place of employment or promotion opportunity.

 

The Power of a Smile

 

As I walked down an extremely busy street in London sometime ago with a friend, a young man stopped me and said in a rather puzzled manner, “Do I know you?” I replied that I did not think so.

Later, as I considered this brief exchange of words, bearing in mind that I certainly had never seen him before; that I am not world-famous nor was he trying a smooth chat-up line, I concluded that the only reason he could possibly have had for stopping me was the fact that I had smiled at him, as I tend to do to many people. This little scenario got me thinking how important it is to maintain an openness and connection with other people even if we do not know them. Mother Teresa said “We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.”

Children, apparently, smile about 400 times a day; adults, however, smile 40-50 times a day when happy and only 20 times a day when not! Interestingly though it actually takes far less effort, from a physiological point of view, to smile than it does to frown and I often find myself encouraging clients to remember the power of a smile in connecting with others and simply to feel better.

The benefits of smiling are well documented and proven …

• Smiling helps you to feel happy and relaxed. If you are in a bad mood, simply by choosing to smile you can lift your spirits. Consequently, smiling can change your mood, your feelings, even your resulting actions by helping to generate more positive emotions.

The scientist Andrew Newberg has said that in experiments, the smile was “the symbol that was rated with the highest positive emotional content.”

• Smiling stimulates your brain’s reward mechanisms in a way that nothing can match.

• Smiling boosts your immune system.

• Smiling reduces stress as it leads to a decrease in stress induced hormones, this positively affects physical and mental health.

• Smiling is contagious. A recent study in Sweden showed that it was extremely difficult for others to frown when they looked at others who were smiling!

There is a reason that the most read book in the world says “laughter does good like a medicine”.

A Persuasive Presentation

Emma Watson

I was moved last week in watching Emma Watson, of Harry Potter fame, give what has been called by the press and media as a “game changing” and “powerful” speech.

Emma Watson was addressing the UN at their HQ in New York as an introduction to the HeForShe campaign.  She has recently taken up the role as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and was inviting the male members of her audience to make a stand, along with the women, for gender equality.

Emma indeed made an effective and impassioned plea for change that was undoubtedly heartfelt and deeply considered.  So what qualities was she evidencing in her speaking that evoked such a glowing response from the ordinarily critical media machine?

I believe that she was courageous in making a stand for what is still, in our ‘progressive’ 21st century culture, a significant issue for many women the world over.  Emma also highlighted how the issue adversely affects men on a number of levels.

She was relatable, using well-chosen examples from her own life and allowing some vulnerability and transparency.  Although, at times, her voice trembled, this in no way detracted from her message or ability to connect with her audience.

Emma was well-prepared and practised  – she knew her speech inside out and did not falter.  Her chosen facts entirely supported her cause.

Finally, I want to highlight the point that she had a cause.  There is nothing else so empowering and provoking to challenge us to step out of our comfort zones, as having something to speak up for!

 She spoke from her heart.