Communication is at the heart of everything you do. Whether you deal with customers or colleagues, your communication will set you up for success.
It ‘s difficult to communicate effectively however when we have a lot going on in our personal life or when someone around you is being difficult. We depend a lot on the energy that surrounds us. Sometimes it can cause us to communicate (or not) sporadically or even badly.
Discover the 5 key elements that will enable you to communicate efficiently and generate a smooth working environment:
1: Body Language
Body language is the most impactful form of communication.
Communication is formed of:
55% Body language
38% Tone of voice
If your body language or tone of voice isn’t correct, no one will take notice of your words.
If you think about it, when you meet someone for the first time you instantly decide whether you like or dislike them. They haven’t said anything, their energy and their body language cause you to make your decision.
It’s the small details that are the most important. For example, When you adopt open body language, you can revoke situations and settle everything. Having the palms of your hands in view when you talk, uncrossed arms or strong eye contact are some of the few positive acts that you can adopt straight away.
Tip: Be aware of the impact your body language has on others. Your tone of voice, in order to be impactful, must not be irritated or too low, simply smile… even on the phone. It makes a world of difference and the tone of voice is softer, more grounded.
2: Active Listening
Listening is key to perfect communication. However, active listening is the only way to have a positive impact in what you are being told.
When you are listening, body language is crucial. Consider eye contact and nodding to reinforce the fact that you are listening intently.
Tip: When listening, do remember 3 key elements you are being told and ask relevant questions. It’s a fact that when you’re given the chance to explain more, you feel you are being listened to. Ensure those questions are Open Ended Questions to get the conversation flowing. The more you make them talk, the more they feel listened to.
Open Ended Questions start with: What, When, How, Why, Where and Tell me….
Confirm what you have been told from at least 3 key aspects of the conversation. This reassures the person you are talking to. It will get them to listen to you better as well. It’s important to confirm the most important aspect of their conversation but the key will be to give them solutions to these.
Over the phone, active listening is purely silence, so say something like, “yes of course” or ask questions. The more you engage in the conversation, the more they will reveal.
Tip: The aim is to get them to nod or be affirmative. When the person nods at what you are saying or says YES, you have confirmed that you understand them. Giving them solutions becomes easy as they’re already trusting your judgement.
4: Be consistent
Consistency in your communication creates a long lasting impact. People know you’re approachable and able to deal with situations. Also from a customer’s point of view, you will come across as reliable. This is especially true if you’re in management.
In Digital communication for example, same tone of voice is important. Do you want to come across as friendly? Funny? Professional? Being consistent will enable your clients to know your brand straight away.
Tip: Think before you speak or write! Adopt a style that is your own and remember that positive language can generate positive energy around you.
Remain professional at all times. Whether it’s with colleagues or customers, professionalism goes a long way.
This is especially true for digital media communication. It’s so easy to get carried away and take things personally when it comes to customer’s feedback. Answer publicly but deal with the conversation privately. This avoids the possibility of the conversation escalating in the public domain.
When you work with customers, you tend to take on all sorts of negativity and it can drain you. “Kill them with kindness” is my motto. Really irate customers will not be difficult for too long when you’re being professional and nice to them. It will become apparent that you’re able to deal with anything and your communication will reassure them.
In all, communication not only allows you to generate a smooth operation but also a professional atmosphere which has a positive impact on both customers and staff.
It is important to understand that your communication is the key to your success. Make it your priority for 2017.
Valerie Delforge - Founder and CEO of Delforge + Co
Judge, Key Note Speaker, Commercial Trainer & Coach for the Beauty Industry
Become Commercially aware