Speaking the Language of Power: How to Have Exceptional Communication Skills
Communicating skillfully is an art. Anybody who has ever been married will identify with this question: Are you listening to me? What did I just say?
It’s true that sometimes, our own thoughts become louder than the voice of our conversational partner. This happens at home with frightening regularity, and it also pops up at the office and even at networking events. Conversely, when you are truly listening – actively listening – to a person, it shows in your behavior, in your responses, and most importantly in their response to you. Exceptional communicators have mastered the art of making people feel that they are being heard, and that their words have value.
Powerful communication is one of the best skills you can cultivate, and for this reason, I will revisit the topic many times on this blog; I also offer several executive presence workshops on the various topics around communication. In today’s post, we will look at the foundation of exceptional communication: it begins with listening, tuning in, and paying attention to what others are thinking. This allows you to understand others, to learn valuable information, and of course to choose an appropriate way to react.
Find What Style of Professional Communication Works Best for You
The next element of communication varies from individual to individual. This is your personal brand: how you want to be perceived. Who do you wish to be seen as? Are you a kind, giving mentor? Are you a tough, no-nonsense leader? Is it something in between? It is important for you to understand how you want to come across – and this needs to be consistent with your existing personal brand. I always recommend working with a professional on this, to understand what style of communication will work best for your unique qualities and roles.
Your personal brand determines how you react to people, and this makes your communication more powerful. In most cases, power or perceived power comes from consistency: being the same person in every interaction. This strengthens others’ impressions of you, and it commands respect. It also shows that you are confident in yourself, and it allows others to trust you – because they know what to expect from you.
Consistent communication begins with the first time you greet a person (how is your handshake?) and continues through every conversation, every email exchange, even onto social media. How can you be more consistent in every facet of your communication? Take time to work on this strategically, and you will discover powerful results in how others interact with you.
Advance your Career by Mastering How you Communicate
There are many, many ways in which you will interact with people. Exceptional communication includes mastering such skills as:
- Making eye contact
- Building rapport with others
- Commanding a room
- Body language
- The art of conversation
- Written communications
- Communicating across cultural boundaries
- Dining etiquette
- And much more.
Workshops for Advanced Professionals Communication Skills
We will revisit communication again here; I also do provide executive presence workshops that give one-on-one feedback to help professionals improve their communication across the board. However, you can start today by applying these basics.
Truly, the foundation of exceptional communication is in listening, engaging others, and being consistent. Begin by practicing those three; they will take you far.