Our world is moving at a fast pace, and our interactions seem to be evolving to "auto-pilot." Many of us continuously seek ways to manage our busy lives, but also tips to help demonstrate proper communication along the way. I hope my 7 tips can remind us of the power of our verbal and non-verbal communication. Sometimes we just have to slow down and BREATHE:
B- Take a deep breath. Inhale, exhale, then take a step back. You
don't always have to be the leader of the pack, but be confident in sharing your thoughts and let your voice be heard. Surround yourself with an appropriate network. The key is to dedicate your time to the right people/projects and attract the right audience that can help you grow.
Be Bold. Make a statement, and set yourself apart. Your hand shake is a great first impression! Introduce yourself with a firm yet brief hold. Let your counterpart know you are genuinely interested to meet their acquaintance. No one likes a soft hand shake.
Be Brave. Demonstrate courage and speak your mind. Don't let fear stop you from saying or doing what feels right, but be sure to gauge what's appropriate.
R- Build Rapport and Respect. If you network with people to make a connection, don't just jump to asking for a favor right off the bat. Show respect for the person's intellect and skills by taking time (it may take 2-3 conversations) to learn about them and establish a foundation. I can't imagine most people enjoy being approached by others who are constantly looking for favors. A business deal is different if you are purchasing a service. Assume everything comes with a price tag, and expect to pay for that person's time and resources. People will volunteer their time/talent at their discretion.Take the time to build rapport with your potential collaborators.
E- Educate. A teaching license is not required to educate others. If you have an expertise in your field of work or passion, then share the experience and information you have acquired. Knowledge sharing can be empowering to both parties. Be willing to help share valid information-- even the basics: who, what, where, when, why, how. People feel great learning, and they value a topic/person when they can take something away from the situation. Ex: Provide information on your non-profit's background and purpose, tell people about how your product will enhance their life rather then just selling them the product/tool, explain why someone should invest their time and money into you and your business. The why is one of the most important elements to educate someone with.
A- Associate. Share information try to demonstrate your level of understanding by discussing your experiences.When possible, try to relate to what others say. Associate yourself to their story by sharing your personal examples to help build rapport. Acknowledge them and their efforts, Appreciate the material discussed, or Ask questions to learn more.
T- Be Thoughtful. Try not to comment just for the sake of saying something. Put some honest thought into it. If you're not sure what to say then simply state, "I hear you" or "I understand." Show your audience that you can provide advice or suggestions AFTER you are done Listening. Provide facts -instead of always stating opinions. (FYI-it doesn't hurt to ask "would you like to hear my thoughts?). I have practiced more "story sharing." I share an example of a situation similar to what the other person is telling me, and I share the situation positives, frustrations, and lessons learned ...aka indirect advice that can be relate-able. And be Thankful. Thank them for sharing information and for dedicating their time to speaking with you.
H- Offer a hand, how can you help? Is there a way you can help others grow and evolve in their personal and professional endeavors? Can you offer an ear to just listen? Can you suggest a new connection/network? Can you help offer information, tips or tricks? Can you help encourage them by praising/reassuring them? Sometimes all you need to do is just ask "how can I help?"
E- Entertain. I don't mean hop on a stage and be the center of the show, but rather just be yourself, enjoy the people you meet, and have fun with your projects. Bring your humor and personality to the table; don't be a bore. OR entertain in the sense of "consider" one's attempts or ideas. Try not to shut down a thought or suggestion before weighing the pros and cons.
Communication DOs and DON'Ts:
- When speaking on a topic, try to have 2-3 main thoughts that you want to to address in your conversation. Speak clearly with concrete examples, and provide factual content.
- Eye contact, nodding, upright posture, arms uncrossed, and an occasional smile doesn't hurt.
- Imagine you are speaking in sentence format with commas in place. Use those imaginary punctuation marks as a chance to take a breath, pause, smile, and allow your audience to soak in your words...aka no rambling on and on. Avoid "run-on sentences"- again speak slowly and clearly, and try not to jumble all your thoughts into one sentence.
- Instead, just take a quick pause if you need a moment to transition from one thought to the next. uuum, soo yeah, like you know?
Life is busy. Trust me I know! However, we have yet to invent teleportation or human cloning, so don't forget to slowdown and allow yourself to "B.R.E.A.T.H.E."