Updated: Dec 3, 2020
When it comes your communication skills, how you show up to the next conversation could be affected by how you present yourself. How can you be more prepared?
5 Tips to Help with your Next Big Conversation
1) Watch Your Speed
Are you aware of how quickly you lead a conversation? I am a fast talker and I am very much an activator when it comes to getting things done, so I often need to slow down; especially if nervous or anxious. Normally though as we are excited or sometimes the opposite, we may be underprepared or are asked a difficult question. Practice slowing it down and even though it seems like you are moving in molasses, it is probably the right speed for the person at the other end of the conversation.
2) Watch Your Tone
Many of us report not liking how we sound in general. I know that many don't like hearing themselves on voicemail messaging or playbacks on Zoom recordings. But, we have to get past that point to have effective communication. Practice by recording yourself either on an app through your phone or a mic you may have if you do video work. The goal here is to see if you can practice changing your tone and speed may get your point across. An example of this would be slow down and lower your tone when driving home a point. You don't want to speed past the main event. So, literally record yourself when you are preparing for an interview or meeting and listen to yourself and also, watching a record too. Listening and seeing with audio are two different exercises to consider.
3) Watch Your Gestures
Talking with your hands is ok but we want to avoid being too distracting or appear to wild with our thoughts through our hands; in most situations. We are born to talk with our hands and you can practice by keeping most of the range in the shoulder to belt area. Again, you can practice by recording yourself off your phone and playing it back. See how you
4) Slow Down in General
We all can slow it down and listen more, even if we know the answer or have a great idea to share. Keep the conversation respectfully reciprocal. This is something that you can always work towards in every conversation so you could start this practice right away; at work or at home. The more you practice the more habit forming although I think everyone reports to me that this is hard to do and is always a work in progress. If you end up feeling the same, that is normal!
5) Pausing is Good
This is also something to practice along with your listening skills in the tip above. This one could feel very awkward when first starting out. So, again start practicing this right away and see how you do. You may find yourself laughing a bit after throwing it into a few conversations at first but you may be shocked to see how a little pause, kindly nudges the other person to keep going or to answer a question you have. Pausing allows for the other to answer on their own, without any help from your commentary and it can calm us fast talkers down.
I am always working on these tools, partnering them with self-awareness skills; so that I can have the best conversations with people that I care about, better meetings with clients and strong negotiations when the time comes. Let me know how these work for you!
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