Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you know - Jim Rohn
Before you can communicate with influence, you need to know what your communication style says about you, where it’s letting you down and how to overcome bad habits.
You want to say something, but you don't … the moment passes and conversation moves on - without you. For some women (and men) this is an all too common experience. They want to contribute their thoughts and ideas to the conversation, yet hold back for a range of reasons.
Ever not spoken up because you’ve been thinking…
I don't know what to say, I can't think of an intelligent question to ask?
What will others think if I get it wrong?
What if my suggestion is irrelevant or shows a lack of insight?
What if my question has been covered and highlights I wasn't paying attention?
How do I get others to take notice when I say something?
I want to hear what others have to say first, before I say something.
People buy YOU - your value, your conviction and your ability to deliver. Without evolving skills needed to communicate the value you offer with confidence, conviction and congruence, you’re more likely to be under-charging for your products/ services, undervaluing your time/ deliverables and communicating with underwhelm.
What you need are effective strategies to shift your communication from ineffective to inspiring. Here’s 3 areas of focus that will improve your message clarity, communication influence and evolve your leadership presence.
1 - Invest In Your Language Cred
Some statements detract from your credibility and authority without you realising. It’s easy to communicate a lack of confidence when speaking, if you feel under-prepared. Under pressure we may rush (or hesitate), add in extra words (or forget them) and previously well crafted messages or heartfelt statements can transform into random ramblings or emotional outpourings.
Leadership is the art of speakership - communication which engages, inspires and influences. To reinforce your credibility, using clear messages is key. This may require blocking out time to decide and articulate your stance on particular areas. The more you practice this, the easier and faster it becomes. Another benefit is when you language your messages (ie say them out loud), you become better at doing this. The car is a great place to practice!
When crafting your message, begin with a structure. Here’s a structure based on the Critical Alignment Model.
Begin with why this matters, what you believe to be true and your desired outcome.
From there expand into areas related to what you’re speaking about,
Next address the activities or actions involved, and finally
Discuss people and/ or specific resources involved.
This provides a clear structure for your messages and when used consistently makes speaking “off the cuff” straightforward and easy to deliver well crafted messages.
2 - Avoid Undermining Words And Phrases
Your choice in words communicates a lot about your self-belief and self-confidence. Some words highlight your uncertainty, others communicate a neediness to be liked or desire for approval. Words that minimise or use of throw away one-liners which put you down in the eyes of others, will undermine your leadership presence. There’s a fine line between self deprecation and self sabotage.
Saying what you mean, rather than inferring what you mean, shifts your communication from questionable to quotable. Give an example of what you expect and ask your listener to describe their understanding of the conversation. This approach is an effective way to obtain feedback about your communication effectiveness.
3 - Own Your Style
To be liked by all is an admirable yet unachievable goal. Communication that’s perceived as kind by one person, may be perceived as overly soft by another.
Communicating in ways you think is expected is exhausting because its incongruent with who you are. Imagine someone renowned for their straight talking, being overly empathetic with a colleague - it can be confusing and unsettling, rather than comforting. Highlight your communication style and tendencies where appropriate.
Consistency in communication style builds trust. Acknowledge your limitations, own your natural communication style and bring a pro-active approach towards improvement to create impact, communication influence and trust in you.
Our vision is a world where women communicate with conviction. Rapidly improve your communication influence from where you are now, to where you want to be.
Kerryn Gamble develops Women in Business and Professional Services to become influential communicators, through their thinking, language and physical movement.
She is author of “UNSTOPPABLE – The Professional Woman’s Guide To Purpose, Power & Prosperity”. Purchase Kerryn’s book here.
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