The 5 Most Effective Communication Skills
Effective communication skills do not happen by accident. Getting up in front of a roomful of people, whether that audience is filled with family, friends, colleagues or strangers, can be downright terrifying. However, with time, effort, practice and a positive attitude, a person can learn effective communication skills.
Fit the Audience
A speaker quickly loses the audience if the demographics of the audience are not taken into consideration. A speaker needs to tailor the speech or talk toward the audience. While information to different audiences may be similar, it needs to be focused on the needs and wants of each audience. Before formulating the speech, speakers need to research their audience. Care enough to know the type of individuals who will make up the audience. Don’t come across as talking down to them.
Create a Bond
The best speech in the world will miss if the speaker thinks all that is necessary is to project information. Whether the setting is an intimate setting with only a few or an auditorium filled with expectation, a speaker needs to find a way to create a bond with the audience. Share something personal, something those listening can understand and to which they identify. Once a bond is created, an audience will listen not to a stranger, but to someone who shares a bond.
Read Body Language
Become aware of body language. Speakers need to be careful in what they project by their words, speech patterns and how they present their physical presence. A speaker with arms crossed, alerts the audience of discomfort, of distance and, maybe even, hiding something. Bold, wide marching across the stage may come across as confident or threatening.
It is also important to watch and listen to members of the audience. When the audience begins whispering or shifting in their seats, they are projecting boredom or disapproval. Body language can help a speaker stay on target with the audience.
Microphones make many speakers forget they still must project clearly. Speakers need to hold their chins up, look out directly and project toward the audience. They need to practice often enough to know their material without ducking their heads every moment to check notes and know the material well enough they don’t mumble and fumble over words. If they don’t, they may project fear, unfamiliarity with the subject or lack of self-confidence. If speakers want the audience to listen, they need to smile and articulate clearly.
The best speakers follow up. This may include a question and answer session or asking members of the audience to fill out a short survey about the topic and how the speaker came across.
Effective communication skills means worrying less about self and more about communicating with the audience.