Communicate better with the 5Cs
Use them to build strong business relationships and achieve greater success
SUCCESSFUL professionals are leaders who have mastered the art of effective communication. They are well-liked by colleagues â€• subordinates or superiors â€• and your company’s clients love them too.
You may think these individuals are blessed with a natural talent for speaking well â€• and maybe they are. But everything can be learned, including how to speak like a star.
Apply the five Cs of effective communication to enhance your relationships and get on the road to greater professional success.
1 Speak slowly
If your listeners cannot understand what you are saying, your message will never be effective. The easiest way to instantly improve the clarity of your speech is to slow down.
When you get nervous or stressed, your rate of speaking often increases. And these are the times when calm eloquence and tact are most needed. Take a deep breath, slow down and speak clearly.
It is also important to formulate your thoughts in a clear manner so that other people can understand your message. Stick to your main point, be as concise as possible and back up your arguments with examples and stories that make sense to your listener.
2 Speak well
Whether you like it or not, you will be judged on how you speak. Individuals with poor grammar and sloppy speech patterns are often viewed as being lazy, uneducated and even disrespectful.
Make proper speech a priority. Polish your grammatical skills and build a healthy vocabulary. Read as much as you can, and ask your friends, family or colleagues for help or join a grammar refresher course.
As our world becomes more global, just speaking English isn’t enough. You need to speak it really well.
3 Be considerate
Even before you open your mouth, focus on being considerate towards everyone you meet. Make eye contact with people when they approach you. Have a good attitude and a winning smile.
Show that you care for others by asking questions and showing interest. Remember personal details that are important to them, and build a relationship that consists of more than just the work at hand.
Small talk is imperative for building rapport and stronger relationships in the workplace.
If you are considerate towards others, they will also treat you with care and respect.
4 Give compliments
In addition to being considerate, another way to build instant rapport is to give sincere compliments. Recognise those around you for a job well done. Show interest by congratulating others on their accomplishments.
If your colleague mentions that he finally finished that big project that you know he was slaving over for months, respond with a sincere “Great job!” or “Good for you!” Such remarks are always appreciated.
Keep in mind that compliments should be subtle and appropriate and the closeness of your relationship also determines how a compliment will be received.
Commenting on a colleague’s physical appearance, for example, may not be acceptable in the modern workplace, unless you are also very close friends outside of the office.
5 Have confidence
A successful communicator is a confident communicator. It is hard to take someone who doesn’t seem to believe in his own words seriously.
Confidence does not just come from what you are saying, but also what you are vocalising â€• that is, the pace, pitch and volume of your voice.
A calm, steady voice always sounds stronger and more confident than a mousy squeak.
Your visual appearance can also exude confidence. Make sure you stand straight and make firm eye contact when you address other people.
Even the least confident individuals can “fake” a confident image simply by forcing themselves to do these two simple things.
Article by Heather Hansen, a professional speech and language trainer, public speaker and voice-over artist. She runs regular workshops on speaking and interpersonal skills with ST Training Solutions. She will speak at the Asian Summit for Secretaries and Admin Professionals, held from April 23 to 25. Website: www.shirleytaylortraining.com/ASSAP
E-mail: [email protected] Tel: 6838-1069
Learn more about communicating effectively at the half-day seminar “Communication: Your key to success!” on Feb 29, organised by ST701.