11 Tips To Improve Your Communication Skillsby russlaw | May 5, 2015 | General
The most effective speakers, presenters and leaders are those who know how to communicate with their audience. Some great examples include Conan O’Brien, Steve Jobs and marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk, but it’s no secret why we are drawn to them; they all share and exhibit the the same techniques when it comes to communicating and engaging with those around them. So, let’s learn from the best, it will help on the stage and it will help in everyday life!
Follow these 11 Tips To Improve Your Communication Skills and soon you’ll be drawing attention like never before!
Don’t be shy. Use your presenting space to the fullest. Stroll across the stage or platform as opposed to standing still or talking from one spot, speak like an Italian, with your arms and hands! Be bold and walk amongst your audience. Imagine you’re giving a concert and crowd diving! Make grand gestures to emphasize a point and keep it high energy!
2. Use an Animated Presentation Tool
Add in an animated video into any presentation you’ll be sure to gain your audience’s attention. This is a secret way to improve your communication skills – Late night shows take advantage of this by adding in random cartoons and funny sketches in the middle of a monologue. There are several great platforms to create animated videos, Powtoon is especially useful in this realm because of the wide range characters with pre-designed expressions and emotions, there’s nothing cooler than talking to a dancing panda!
3. Project Your Voice
If you sound bored, your audience will be bored, so if you want to really improve your communication skills bring on the energy and excitement in your voice. If you want to know how you fair on the ‘voice excitement’ scale, you can record yourself to hear how you sound. Project your voice so that those in the back row can hear, if you’re not sure just ask. A cute trick for checking sound: tell a bad joke and then when they don’t laugh at the back accuse them of not being able to hear! Enunciate and don’t make it even harder for your audience to understand you by mumbling. Keep your voice dynamic by using dramatic pauses; rise and fall in your intonation. This is an invaluable tip if you want to improve your communication skills.
4. Amuse Your Audience
Don’t take yourself too seriously. There’s also nothing wrong with showing some vulnerability – you’ll be much more likeable, rather than someone pompous puffing around the stage! Conan O’Brien always makes fun of his hair, his ridiculous height and his poor dancing skills. Once you recognize your flaw you can turn it into a strength to improve your communication skills.
5. Humanize Your Content
Don’t present dry data or facts alone. Personalize what you want to say to illustrate your point. For example, tell a funny anecdote from your own life or something silly that occured recently in the media. Your audience will love you for it. Get clever with your wording , here are 91 formulas to make titles and headlines ridiculously catchy!
6. Be Prepared
Have you ever seen a presentation where the presenter has no clue what he’s talking about? It’s obvious when people haven’t researched their topic. To avoid this, just practice the presentation over and over again and anticipate audience questions, then find the answers. You’ll improve your written communication skills too this way as well as gaining confidence for the big day itself!
Ensure that the presentation is the correct length. Too long and your audience will definitely turn off, but if you end too quickly then they may feel short changed! Be succinct and to the point – this really shows you have good communication skills. Leave time for a Q&A at the end and make it clear you’re going to do this.
8. Be Flexible
If you notice your audience look very interested in a certain point you’re making dwell longer on it and vice versa – don’t drone on for hours on a subject they’re clearly zoning out on. Also to really perfect your communication skills you must tailor what you’re saying to who’s in your crowd i.e. if it’s more of a female crowd don’t make jokes that are going to offend them!
If you’re going to give a handout, also known as a ‘leave behind’, ensure you do this at the end. If you give them paperwork in advance then everyone will spend the entire presentation flicking through and not giving you their full attention. Also if you do intend to leave your audience with something, let them know this so they don’t sit there writing copious notes instead of listening to what you have to say!
10. Don’t Rush
Instead of Rushing, slow down; Build anticipation with dramatic pauses. In order to avoid fumbling words or rushing through points, give your audience a second of silence to think and digest what you’ve just said. If you’re really prepared then you won’t need to panic anyway!
11. Head Up Not Down
Practice so much that you virtually know your material as soon as you see an image or bullet or a statistic on the next slide; This way you can look up and around your audience and not down at your notes! Look them in the eye; it builds trust and rapport.
Communicating effectively is essential to becoming a great presenter, if you follow these 11 simple tips you’ll be sure to improve your communication skills!