While technology has made it easy for us to hide behind a screen, effective communication and strong interpersonal skills are more important than ever to separate yourself from the crowd.
There is always that one person in the office who is a natural at starting and maintaining a conversation, making it seem like ‘working a room’ full of strangers is easy. However, being a strong communicator is not a given skill; it comes with practice over time.
Learning how to communicate effectively is the key to success. Not only will it help your improve your experiences and relationships within the office, but it can help you in other areas of life. Here are six expert tips for being more effective in conversation:
Roll the complements out first
Recognising why you admire a person and letting them know how excited you are to work with them will start the conversation on an encouraging note. Compliments are a useful tool that will lighten the atmosphere and kick the relationship off with a positive energy.
In saying this, comments about a person’s appearance or personality are a no-go. Researching their achievements and highlighting these can further illustrate your interest in their professional career.
Behave as though you are genuinely interested
The truth is that most people love talking about themselves so you can’t go wrong with asking questions and communicating your authentic curiosity. Doing so will make them feel like there is no other person you’d rather be talking to. Showing an interest in what they’re saying will naturally make the other person feel more relaxed, and in turn it is likely that they will open up and share more with you.
Once you hear them out, you too can share your personality and passions. Being yourself and creating a connection beyond work and business will make them more likely to trust you.
Keep the conversation flowing
It can be difficult to keep a conversation going, especially if you don’t know a person well. If you start with the things that you know you both have in common, it’s more than likely that you will progress from the small talk and into the deeper side of the conversation.
Remembering to ask open ended questions is one of the best ways to keep a conversation flowing naturally.
Your body language will speak the loudest
As the saying goes ‘actions speak louder than words’. Eye contact is crucial to communicating your confidence and awareness, while your body language should complement theirs. If you notice that someone looks a little anxious, adjust your body language in a way that will make them feel more comfortable.
Make sure your energy level is always slightly higher than theirs. They’ll feel your enthusiasm for business and you’ll appear confident and ready for anything.
Say their name like you mean it
There’s a great deal of value in how you say a person’s name. So when you speak to someone, say their name like you mean it!
If you say their name with the right kind of inflection, they’ll feel a positive bond with you. Whether you’re fighting an uphill battle or having a laugh with a client, saying a person’s name is one of the most powerful conversation tactics.
It’s not about how many times you say it; it’s about how you say it, so get it right!
The relationship shouldn’t end when the conversation does
Initiating an offer at the end of a conversation will take the relationship further. Whether this means organising a meeting over a coffee or attending an event together, this gesture is an extension of the interest and enthusiasm you displayed in the conversation.
Taking this step is a great way to let the other person know that you valued their exchange while opening up the relationship to further development.