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How can I become a better communicator?

Elan S
Elan S
  • Updated

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As you work to advance your career, one of the most important skills to develop is the ability to communicate clearly and effectively. Here are some helpful tips on how to grow these skills:

 

1. Define your goals

Know your message and understand the goals or intention behind your communication. By keeping your goals in mind, you can streamline your ideas so that you only share the necessary context and information.

  • What goal(s) am I trying to achieve through this communication?
  • What outcomes am I expecting?
  • What would I like my audience to do or take away from my message?

2. Establish a positive image

Be mindful of your word choices. Make sure they’re appropriate for your audience and don’t seem condescending, overly formal, or offensive. Be consistent with the terms you use and pay attention to how you deliver your image. Use a tone that brings the energy you want your audience to have.

 

3. Take note of your body language

Communication is not just in what you say. Your body language is a non-verbal form of communication that can at times be more communicative than your words. For example, having your shoulders back with arms to your side demonstrates openness. 

 

4. Build credibility

Support your statements with evidence. Let your audience know where you sourced your information or how you reached your conclusions. This works to build trust in your recommendations.

5. Share your conclusion upfront

Rather than waiting to share your conclusion or recommendations at the end, share it upfront. While this may be counterintuitive, letting people know where you’re headed will grab their attention early and help them follow along. Next, deliver your key points using short, direct sentences. Before you close, circle back to your conclusion to connect the dots for your audience.

6. Check-in with your audience

Communication is a two-way street. Pay attention to cues from your audience to be sure they’re understanding you. If they appear lost or distracted, take a moment to pause and ask if there are questions or if you can expand on any ideas.

Ask for feedback. Whether it’s a short survey following a presentation, or a quick “How’d I do?” following a meeting, getting timely feedback will identify any opportunities to improve next time.

 

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