Off the top of your head, picture one or two of the best and most influential communicators you can think of.
Nelson Mandela, Steve Jobs, Maya Angelou, Ghandi, President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, Malala Yousafzai, Tina Fey, are only a few among many other prominent and inspirational figures that might come to mind.
Even though we’ve been communicating since we were born, it’s safe to say it’s easy, but not everyone’s naturally born a good communicator. Not everyone is effective and skillful at doing it. To be good at it, it takes more than basic language and sentence structure; body language, cadence, and genuineness are some of the factors that strengthen this skill.
Image source: Malala Fund Blog
On the bright side, it’s not too difficult to attain. It’s a skill one can learn and master with practice. It’s like driving a car, with continuous practice, it can take you to great places. Here are few qualities great communicators share in common.
They listen and absorb information.
Don’t you dread the feeling of talking only to realize later that no one is listening to you?
Communication is a two-way process: someone listens while the other speaks and vice-versa. Great communicators know how equally, if not more than, important and essential listening is to speaking. Add to that, without anyone actively listening, how are they able to retain any information you’re voicing out?
You should take note of this as well. Whenever someone is speaking, lend them your ears and only speak when you’re asked. Pay attention to them and not about what you should say while they’re still going on about the topic. This way, you’ll know how and what to rightfully and appropriately respond.
They establish a good foundation.
Get personal. People wouldn’t listen if they think you’re talking about something of no significant value to them; if they can’t resonate, they won’t participate.
How did Steve Jobs introduce the first game-changing iPhone that dominated the smartphone industry? He expressed his disposition on then-current smartphones which are “not so smart” and “not so easy to use,” without the complex analysis. He launched it in a simple manner where everyone, even a layman, can relate to, akin in a conversational and personal level.
By talking about how the product will benefit and make life easier for the consumer, he built an audience of raving fans. You see, you only need to build a solid foundation and get personal with the audience. It doesn’t need to be deep but so long as it exists, it’s a good sign.
They remain curious.
Like a 5-year old child, great communicators always ask the right questions. Not because they don’t listen, but because they want to clarifications and they want to get a better understanding in the discussion. Also, they question their audience to confirm whether or not their points were delivered clearly.
Make sure that you’re asking politely otherwise you may come off unintentionally and unconsciously condescending. If you’re the one with the mic, you can ask the audience or the person you converse with in a nice way by shifting the focus on you. For example, “Am I explaining this well?” if you’ll be the one asking and “Can you elaborate on that?” is a polite way to ask.
They present facts.
No one wishes to diminish their credibility. If you’re unsure of the facts, you can either admit you’re not too familiar with them and ask about it or don’t say anything at all. Giving out inaccurate information might sound good in conversation but can come back to bite you later!
It is easy to get carried away in the middle of conversations and skip the fact check, but you can prevent this from happening. Ask yourself how accurate your facts are before you speak!
They pay attention to nonverbal communication.
Communication isn’t just made up of words. Body language and behavior is just as important as spoken communication. Great communicators are skillful at identifying non-verbal cues; they don’t just listen and hear what others say. They pay close attention to how they say it. They also look for subtle meaningful gestures and movements as well.
If you learn and practice these skills and incorporate them in your day-to-day interactions, you are steps closer to being a good communicator. These will aid you in reaching personal growth and career success.
What other communicational attributes do you think other great communicators share in common? We’d like to know your thoughts, leave a comment below!