It happens every day. People are going unprepared in meetings, speaking with their children without a plan or making sales calls without knowing what the customer really needs.
To be successful we have to communicate right with people. Misunderstandings and problems can be avoided with good communication skills. There is no guarantee for success but when you are a master communicator it will be helpful for your path and is also a worthwhile journey. Here are four simple action steps to improve your communication skills:
- Take part at a toastmaster club: In many cities there are toastmaster clubs where you can improve your communication skills and practice in front of a group. The most important part: you get directly feedback and soon will make better presentations. Toastmasters is an international organization which is a networking club in which you can improve your communication and leadership skills. When you start at a toastmaster club you get an exercise book with different modules. In each module you exercise something special and every week you are improving your knowledge and skills.
Toastmaster – learn to speak and lead effectively
You can find toastmasters in many countries. In fact when you don’t have a toastmaster club in your city you can even found one. There are how-to-do-it strategies to start a community in your town. It is also a good networking opportunity where you can meet other business people and expand yourself.
A strange feeling to see yourself at television
- Take part at public speaking and active listening course. It`s worth investing in yourself and taking part at events like this. Generally you make many exercises in this kind of courses and, when it is a professional course, your exercises will be recorded. It`s a strange feeling to see yourself at television but it`s worthwhile. You get directly feedback and first of all you see yourself from a different perspective. This alone can help you to go to the next level.
We don`t really learn to listen at school or in life
You learn to manage your body language and use it in the most effective way to sent your message to the audience. Not only body language – also how to structure and implement your arguments into your speech. Good communication is not only about good public speaking it is also about good listening. At school we learn to write, to speak and to read but we don`t learn to listen. Active listening courses can be very valuable and will help you to understand the needs of other people. There is a gap between listening and real listening because many people think they can listen but don’t really do it.
What do I want to say to this person or this audience?
- Prepare yourself. At university, at your job or at home there are many opportunities in which it counts what you say – but how often do we think about our words BEFORE we meet this opportunity? Preparation counts and will be recognized not only at a meeting, even with family members or in front of your spouse. Prepare yourself and answer following questions: What`s my message for this person/ audience? Begin with the end in mind and imagine yourself – how would a good conversation with this person/ audience look like?
Be engaged and take every chance to communicate
- Most importantly: Practice, practice and practice. There are many opportunities to engage yourself for example at private clubs as coach or as speaker for a non-government organization. It`s just important to stand in front of an audience and give a speech. It counts how many minutes you stand in front of an audience. If you really are committed to improve your communication and public speaking skills you have to do it often.
Your journey to be a better communicator is worthwhile because you are part of a small percentage of the society who works on themselves and improves their skills. Good luck and enjoy it.