5 Easy Steps to Superfantastic Communication Skills
In this world of hyper-communication through email, Facebook status updates, tweets, instant messages and texts, it’s become easy to forget how to truly communicate with people. Part of being a good communicator is having the ability to slow down, pay attention, digest and remember information, but these days it seems that most of us are just too rushed and distracted to do it properly.
At GLAD WORKS, we consider ourselves to be master communicators. In fact, some of our clients accuse us of communicating too much! But in our line of work, sharing and gathering information on seemingly minute details is 100% necessary to get the best possible outcome. Communication is the cornerstone of solid teamwork and accountability, so why not make sure you’re really good at it?
1) Attention is the mother of memory
Have you ever sat in a meeting with someone while they endlessly scroll around on their phone? That’s seriously annoying, right? And it doesn’t make you feel like you’re very important, does it? We are all multitasking and dividing our attention between way too many things to be truly invested in any of them. Here’s where we all need to slow down and focus on one thing at a time so we don’t miss important details that can actually make or break a project. Truly paying attention will help you remember the conversation and has the added benefit of letting the other person know they’ve been heard and understood.
2) Write things down
Even if you’re 100% focused, you won’t remember absolutely everything that was said. Write things down. There are a gazillion ways to do that these days, so pick one and use it. Then, after an important phone call or meeting, send a follow up email with action items for both parties. If you’ve worked with us for any length of time, you know we are HUGE fans of the follow up email. Writing things down also frees some mental space because you’re not trying to store so much information in your head. We can all use a little more mental space, right?
3) Ask good questions
When we sit down with a client, we always have a list of questions prepared. During the conversation, new ones inevitably arise and we make sure to address them before the conversation ends. It seems simple, but many times, folks will have questions and not ask them. Meetings, calls and emails are for the purpose of information transfer, so always think of relevant and provocative questions you can ask—even if they may sound silly.
4) Make eye contact
This is a tough one for some people but it’s really important. You don’t have to be creepy about it, but make sure you look people in the eye when you’re talking to them. It conveys a lot to the person who’s speaking and it helps you read their emotions and connect with them. Some folks will look away when you do this and that’s ok. Just give it a whirl. After all, if you’re making eye contact with someone, you can’t be scrolling around on your phone!
5) Be thorough
When a client sends us an email, we go over it line by line and address every single issue listed in it. This prevents us from having to send additional emails to address the rest of the original email. It’s time consuming and frustrating to get a gazillion emails, so doing all you can to cut back on them is helpful. So, next time you get an email (even if you’re really busy) slow down, read it all, and, using bullet points and numbers to help you organize your thoughts, address the whole thing in one response. Your recipient will thank you for it and you’ll have a lighter inbox!