Attraction Through Fresh Communication

Never has there been a time in history when we’ve had fewer opportunities to communicate face to face with the people we live and work with everyday. I hear stories all the time of colleagues e-mailing each other even though their offices are just steps away. Or the conferences that have been cancelled and now relegated to reams of electronic literature and perhaps a webinar or two.

Considering we’re becoming a society that prefers texting to calling, it’s more important now than ever to make sure how we communicate is well worth our listener’s time if we do get the opportunity to engage them.

When that time arises, the question is, “Does what you say sound like it’s coming from who you really are as well as how you wish to be perceived?” And, “Do you take the time to choose your words as carefully as you would when constructing a letter?”

As you assess your current communication skills, focus on three specific areas.

Your Speaking

Here’s a story of a very educated young man who was clearly on the fast track to success. However, he used what we call “crutches” when speaking. When people thanked him for his work, he automatically replied with the words “no problem”. While this is an acceptable response, he learned very quickly what a difference it makes to simply say, the words “you’re welcome” instead. By delivering the later reply, he confidently acknowledged his own efforts.

Once this man got out of the rut of saying “no problem” after being thanked we took him a step further. He now often answers words of gratitude with the response, “My pleasure”. That small change has had a huge impact to him personally and professionally. Think of it like this. As you groom yourself for success, you’re well aware of how you dress. So it also must be true that as you blaze the trails towards growing your business, polished speaking skills are just as important (if not more) as the right shoes! Superior communication will get you noticed and often make the difference between piquing someone’s interest in you or not.

Your Writing

We’ve all opened e-mails from our colleagues and customers and questioned the energy behind the writing. Because of time constraints, we often write in haste, disregarding salutations and failing to read through what we wrote before we hit “send”.

But clearly, a little extra time to construct and assess an e-mail prior to sending can be the difference between sending words that motivate vs. sending words that leave lingering, often uncomfortable concerns.

Here’s the story of a woman who was recently seeking work. Her credentials and experience help her get some initial meetings. But it is her follow-up correspondence that helps her really shine. Out of sheer respect, and to make herself stand out from the crowd, she always begins her follow-up e-mails with the greeting, “Dear”. While this was once the most common salutation, it’s now typically replaced with the word, “Hi”. That greeting is acceptable, but it is a written communications rut we have the opportunity to avoid, especially when addressing a brand new prospect.

In the office, many colleagues tell me that they often receive e-mails that sound more like barking orders rather than requests for assistance and collaboration. While it’s necessary to state your case while writing an e-mail, before you send, take a minute and ask yourself if your correspondence is thorough enough. A simple “thank you” or “I appreciate your time” can ensure that there’s no miscommunication, which can result in hard feelings and a decrease in motivation. If someone’s work was truly helpful try the statement, “You made a big difference,” and know that your words, if genuine, will greatly elevate the energy of the conversation!

Your Presence

The average person in business gets plenty of computer, phone and media time, but when it comes to human interaction, this time is more limited than ever before. So when you have the opportunity to share your physical energy with the people you encounter during your workday, make it count.

I once knew a man whose boss never made eye contact with him when he came in to discuss an issue. Several minutes would go by during their conversation and never once did his boss look away from his computer screen. This would make this man furious, feeling like his boss didn’t value his ideas, strategy and recommendations.

Remember, when two people have different ideas on how a project should proceed, all opinions should be respected regardless of which direction is taken. Otherwise, if a worker begins to feel like what they think doesn’t matter, they’ll begin to slow their contributions!

Face to face communication can be enhanced in a few other simple ways. Try to say “good morning” to everyone you see when you get to work. Or take time, if appropriate, to actually touch someone’s arm after an important conversation. These gracious steps are an indicator that you and others are working “together” towards common goals as opposed to being separate entities who just happen to share space.

It’s more challenging now than ever to focus on those with which we’re communicating. But if you spend just a little extra time making sure you are present to the conversation and the person in the room, it gives you an opportunity to connect deeply, sans the barriers of phones, computers or other electronics. And that will be the difference between making a colleague feel as though they’re heard and making sure they know that they matter. Once that happens, watch relationships and productivity flow!

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