Today’s fast-paced business environment requires leaders who can create impact and influence others with sound communication practices. Stacey Hanke has trained over 15,000 executives to influence, persuade, sell, or simply effectively communicate face-to-face with a clear message. In our ever-expanding global marketplace, companies are turning to digital for meetings more and more. Below, Stacey shares her best tips on how to make sure your message is really heard:
“I always believed that the more I said, the more knowledgeable I was perceived … until I heard myself on a video playback,” confessed a recent session participant.
One of the unique characteristics of an influential communicator is an ability to adapt a message on the fly, to speak less and listen more. They focus on what’s happening between them and their listeners. They listen to the non-verbal and verbal messages their listeners communicate, determining:
- Is my message clear, concise or confusing?
- Do my listeners need additional information or have I pushed them over the cliff?
- Do they really agree with me or are they shaking their heads “yes” in hopes this will be over soon?
- Am I really connecting and engaging or are my listeners zoned out?
Focusing on your listeners’ verbal and non-verbal cues directs you in creating a resonating message. Start today with these three actions:
1. Get out of your head. We get caught up in our dialogue. We believe we need to communicate our A-to-Z plan without skipping a beat. If you truly want to influence your listeners to act on your recommendations, you need to stop focusing on what you want. Begin focusing on why. Why should your listeners care? Why is your topic important to them? Why is this conversation happening? The answers to these questions allow you to choose words that resonate with your listener, which will drive them to action.
2. Interact to understand. Have a conversation with your listeners not at them. Continue checking in with your listeners by asking open-ended questions. Are they following your recommendations? Are they questioning you or your message? When you focus on your listeners rather than yourself, you will have a better understanding of their knowledge, experience and opinion of your topic. Keeping these three components in mind will allow you to adapt your message.
3. Let go of being perfect. Your listeners don’t want you to be perfect. They want to know you sincerely care about them; know what they want; and will help them get there. When you turn your focus on your listeners, you invite them to experience YOU and your authenticity.