Communication is the key to success in both our personal and business lives. Lots of relationships flounder because of inconsistent or misleading messaging.
Career influencers hire you, not only because you have the skills and attributes, but because you are a confident and striking communicator. They must be able to imagine you working in your role, succinctly relaying messages and acting as a positive ambassador for your business unit or company.
First impressions count, especially the way you articulate yourself in the first 20 seconds of an interaction, which can kill your chances for building a relationship if mishandled. Common hindrances to communication may include using filler words like um and ah, mumbling, avoiding eye contact, or using distracting hand gestures, all of which can diminish the impact of your messaging.
Too many people have the right intentions, but slip in their delivery. Don’t stop with just planning what you’ll say, practice it as well! Before a meeting, networking event, or job interview, rehearse what you are going to say. Enlist your friends or family to be your audience. If you don’t have an audience, speak in front of a mirror.
Even better, use your smart phone, tablet or computer to record a video, which allows you to closely scrutinize your delivery and subsequently improve it.
When coaching executive clients, I actively encourage them to find avenues where they can enhance their communication strategies and tools, while having fun. Toastmasters is one such international organization with a terrific reputation.
Toastmasters is centered around a structured education program that builds your capabilities as a communicator, leader, or both. Here you can hone your ability to present and interview, in a friendly but honest environment.