Communication Practices for Successful Networking in 2015

NetworkingPersonal Branding

shutterstock_218342101Communication is something that we do every day. Communication is easy but doing it effectively is another thing. Great communication skills are essential in your personal and professional life, by helping you better understand a person, build trust and respect, and establish an avenue where creative ideas can flourish and problems can be solved. If you want to be a thought leader in your industry, it is essential to be a great communicator. However, being socially adept does not always translate to being a great communicator.

Effective communication is an integral part of your professional success at many levels. There are a host of factors that determine effective communication, but it is not just limited to verbal expression. Good communication also includes non-verbal expressions.

Communication practices that can help your personal brand

#1. Listen first. Communication is a two way process. How you convey your message depends on how you listen to others. It is important to understand whom you are talking to regardless of the mode (written or oral). Not all people will understand or appreciate your message even if it’s full of brilliant ideas. As such, be mindful of people’s differences by listening to them. Understand more about their thought process, educational background, interests, cultural, and even religious leanings. Do not expect that others will understand everything you say. Through listening, you can carefully select the words and the kind of information that you share, and subsequently convey it effectively.

#2. Think before you speak. There are lots of people who say whatever comes to mind without paying much thought. Talking doesn’t always translate to being a communicator. Sometimes it leaves a negative impression on your brand when you talk too much without thinking first. Always remember that whatever thought you want to share, think first, be sensible and choose relevant words to convey the message clearly.

#3.Use a professional tone. If you want to be taken seriously, avoid slang or shorthand lingo whilst communicating. Some professionals use slang to make others feel comfortable and show that they are affable. While speaking this way may give an impression that you are friendly, not all people will appreciate it especially if you are dealing with professional matters. Think of this situation: You come across two people whom you’ve talked to before and they’re together at the time. Now, you spoke to one in a professional manner while the other you were rather personal with and used slang. When you come across the two individuals, the latter approaches you the way you approached them before, and the former is taken by surprise, mostly because they don’t expect you to be so cavalier in your communication. How do you assuage that person’s fears that you are not as professional as you say you are?

#4. Speak slowly and clearly. Be sure that your tone doesn’t go overboard even if you have strong feelings regarding an issue. With regard to written communication, use an active voice. Active voice is more powerful than passive voice. Also, be careful with your grammar and punctuation. Sometimes the incorrect placement of punctuation can give off a different message.

#5. Show confidence. There are people who are not easily persuaded even if you have the most brilliant ideas in mind. It is important to exude confidence when expressing your thoughts. Nervousness and over excitement can cause you to stutter, resulting in ineffective communication. When you are speaking in front of a crowd, avoid injecting “uhmms, you knows, and stuff like that”. If you can’t help it, pause occasionally and breathe deeply. Take your time to compose your thoughts. If you are conveying your message through writing, use active voice. Avoid providing too much information to convince your reader.

#6. Be mindful of your gestures. Body language says a lot of things. Slipping your hands into your pocket or hand tapping can signal to your audience that you are nervous or lack confidence. Maintain eye contact with your audience because it signals honesty.

#7. Be honest and authentic. People are attracted to someone who is genuine, transparent, and honest. Many people are turned off by those who talk too much or put on a show to persuade others. People who speak with humility and genuine respect for others are almost always held in high regard.

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It is important to hone your communication skills as it brings a lot of difference in your personal and professional life. More so, communicating effectively and efficiently has a huge impact on the success of your personal brand. It is our hope that these tips help you improve your communication skills. What other practices can you share?