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5 Steps to Better Communication

The Public Speaker’s 5 expert tips on improving your interpersonal communication skills.

By
Lisa B. Marshall,
Episode #155

Step #3: Plan Your Words

Consider your goal. Do you want ideas from your team? Do you want to hear reactions to your ideas? Do you want to address recent events?  What first steps can you take to help you move closer to achieving it? Start by creating an outline of the main points that you want to communicate. Remember your audience and frame your words keeping in mind their point of view. Many people freeze at this step feeling unsure what to say. It’s best to jump in, write a first draft, knowing you’ll edit it later. Identify all the topics you want to cover during the meeting along with your approach. If necessary, write your opening and closing lines.

By breaking your goal down into manageable tasks, it’ll be much less overwhelming. Think of each completed task as a victory. (I love the feeling of checking off a completed task, don’t you?) This will give you a sense of satisfaction and motivate you to move on to the next step.

Step #4: Plan for Objections

Of course, the path to your goal will not always be smooth. You may encounter some obstacles and it is important that you do not give up when that happens. Identify potential problems or potential reactions ahead of time and think about how you would address them.  What if the meeting gets heated? What if no one is willing to talk? What if they suggest something you simply can’t do? You can’t predict every obstacle, but highlighting some potential troubles will reduce your chances of being blindsided. Also, having prepared responses to these potential roadblocks will help you get back on track more quickly, rather than going off on a tangent.

Step #5: Don’t Get Discouraged

Figure out what will motivate you when you need it the most. For some people, a cheering section works best. Friends, family, or coworkers can remind you what you’ve accomplished and shower you with good wishes. Or maybe you need to take a look at your glory board to remind yourself of your past achievements.

When you’re working toward a goal like running a 10k, it’s easy to come up with a plan to get there. When you get discouraged you can call a friend, take to Facebook for support, or take a day off. When your goal is about communicating, it’s not quite so easy, but definitely not as hard as you think, either. Run your ideas by a mentor or a trusted co-worker. Set up a dry run of your speech with supportive friends. Shut down your computer and go for a walk to clear your head.

Believe in yourself. If you start to doubt your ability to achieve your goal, draw on your reserves of strength, focus, and determination. Celebrate your goal when you achieve it, because improved communication will improve your productivity and is the key to your overall success.

This is Lisa B. Marshall, passionate about communication; your success is my business.

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