A person who communicates well and has good speaking skills does not necessarily use big words and elaborate jargon. In fact those things can serve to turn a listener off. They feel patronised, inadequate and frustrated if someone is using fancy language. The point of communicating is to convey information, to share with others and to have a two-way exchange.
Communicating, to whatever size of audience, requires the speaker to encourage people to listen, engage, take on board what is being said and process that information with a view to doing something with it. People will only listen if they feel that the speaker is talking to them, interested in them, is speaking their language. Using the type of language they feel comfortable with is the key.
- Giving something away is important. Updating people requires them to understand how what is being said will affect them. Giving them insights, an advantage, information is an important part of speaking skills. Establishing what the audience wants to hear is crucial. The skill is in being relevant to what people want to learn more about.
- Encouraging people to communicate back is equally important. Good speaking skills are about encouraging people to share, to give information that will enable the relationship to progress. If only one person speaks it is a one-way exchange. This is fine in a presentation situation, where research has been done in advance to establish what is needed to be conveyed. In a smaller environment it is often important to have feedback in order for the conversation to progress in a satisfactory manner.
- Humour is a good tool in speaking skills. It keeps the situation light and helps everyone relax a little. The use of self-deprecating humour can be effective. Also not being too perfect in delivery can be a skill. If someone seems very polished and smooth they can seem removed from their audience. But if they seem unpolished they can be regarded as unprofessional and disrespectful. Getting the balance right is a skill in itself.
- The use of inclusive language is important. Talking about ‘us’ and ‘our’ rather than giving instructions and directives demonstrates respect and teamwork. If it is done well it is an effective way to get ones listeners on side. But people have to feel that the speaker cares, that they have empathy and understanding, that it matters to them too.
- Demonstrating interest in the listener is key. A good salesperson will talk to a potential customer first to establish what they are looking for. Building a connection with their customer enables a relationship to be established from which to offer alternatives, discuss requirements in more detail, begin to trust each other. When we feel that we are on a conveyor belt and someone is only interested in taking our money we understandably become a little cynical.
- Trust. Feeling that someone is looking to build a mutually beneficial relationship, establish a long-term client who will repeatedly do business if treated well, makes a difference to the quality of the relationship. This establishes trust between the salesperson and the customer. A good salesperson can phone a customer and recommend products. They can almost sell over the phone because the trust is so strong. Their skill at speaking means that they connect and establish a feeling of mutual respect for each others position within the relationship.
Speaking skills are important whether it be communicating one on one or to a larger audience. Building rapport, a connection with the audience allows them to feel part of the relationship, valued and considered. When that occurs and they engage and respond it allows positive two-way communications to begin to develop.
Susan Leigh, Counsellor and Hypnotherapist http://www.lifestyletherapy.net