Does it take a PhD or English major to communicate effectively? Absolutely not! All you need is a willingness to build rapport and a few simple techniques for relating to people in their own style. Once you learn to translate your words into their language, getting people to share your point of view is a breeze.
If you want to project your vision, help others hear your message, and move them to take action, keep reading.
Who is the most effective conversationalist you know? What makes them stand-out in the crowd?
Public figures like Cicero, Napoleon Bonaparte, Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan live on today because of their verbal prowess. They knew how to move nations with their ideas.
In communicating your ideas in a conversation, have you given thought to the structure you use to get your ideas to stick?
Can you imagine what it would be like to be the most persuasive project manager in your organization? Odds are if you are that person, you’ve put some work into your conversational skills.
If you want to become a skilled conversationalist, here are some practical tips, whether you want to advance your career or simply connect with others more effectively.
1. Adapt Your Style
If you want to get through to people, it helps to meet them on their own turf. For your message to be welcome, you need to sound like one of their tribe. You need to get their attention – the right kind of attention.
Sometimes it makes sense to stand-out in a crowd. The most effective communicators often work hard at blending-in to the environment.
If you want to ask a question, make a statement, or verbally compel someone to act, the first thing you want to do is blend-in. You need to seem familiar, like someone your listener would want to know.
So what’s the easiest way to do that? You can make yourself blend into their world by subtly matching the way they dwell in it – literally mirroring their moves, matching their vocal pitch and volume, adapting yourself to their style of speech. When you reflect what they’re comfortable with, they’re more likely to be comfortable with you.
Have you ever felt annoyed when someone parades into your office and they’re just a little too happy? Have your meetings been derailed by someone talking a bit too loud, interrupting the flow of the meeting and your concentration?
These people are getting your attention but in all the wrong ways. You might think of them as inconsiderate, maybe even rude. Whatever they have to say is lost on you.
Tailor your tone and style to blend with your listener’s, and you’re sure to stack the deck in your favor.
2. Match Your Speech
Countless studies have shown that people interpret the world around them according to their dominant senses. Some people call it your primary learning style. What you’ll discover in becoming an effective conversationalist is that people will reflect their primary learning style in their speech.
The way a person relates to their world is a called their Representational System: visual, auditory, or kinesthetic – sight, sound or sense. If it seems like you and that certain person are speaking a different language, maybe it’s because you really are!
Here are 3 common situations for understanding how to adapt your style of communication:
1. Sight: Is there someone who just doesn’t SEE eye to eye with you, no matter how plain your message may be?
2. Sound: Is there someone who just can’t HEAR you, even when you think you’re coming in loud and clear?
3. Sense: Is there someone who just won’t FEEL anything except the bone they have to pick with you?
Each of these situations is actually the same kind of problem wearing a different disguise.
If you’re not getting your point across clearly, successful communication may be a simple matter of matching your speech to their Representational System.
If they don’t SEE your point, help them visualize it a little more clearly. If they can’t HEAR your message, explain in words they can understand. If they won’t FEEL anything but the bone they have to pick with you, help them resolve the issues and connect the dots.
3. Ask Pointed Questions
In getting your ideas across verbally, don’t underestimate the power of asking pointed questions. The more deeply you understand your listener or conversation partner, the more relevant your discussions can be. Determine they’re style, get on their turf and use the momentum of the dialogue to communicate what’s on your mind.
You don’t have to be a PhD, English major or even a great orator to get your point across clearly. It just takes a few simple techniques to get the other person to listen, see your point, and move into action. Now that you know how, who will you move into action with your ideas.