Communicate Effectively by Understanding Your Strengths

Learning to identify different communication styles is essential if we want to develop effective communication skills. Knowing yourself first is critical to effectively communicating with others. Once you have learned your strong attributes, you will better understand and appreciate others. Learning who you are will assist in speaking with others and meeting “their” communication needs.

We stated in our April 2014 issue, and remains just as current today, that studies have shown “Technical Skills” only represent 25% contribution into our performance (this is assuming we are qualified for the position). The remaining 75% comes from “Personal and Communication Skills” including: Decision making, assertiveness, authenticity, commitment to grow, enthusiasm, judgment, energy level, resourcefulness, honesty, integrity, optimism, persistence, initiative and knowing how to connect with people quickly and easily.

Effective leadership in business requires collaboration, consensus, communicating for results and shared leadership. For an executive to be successful, which in turn provides the organization with a strong operations and market presence, there are many skills a leader needs to master, and communication skills is a critical part of being successful.

We are unique and there is no one else like us, yet we don’t always know ourselves as well as we could. Knowing what traits make us feel confident, knowing how we expect others to communicate with us and what situations frustrate us is an important awareness for communicating with others. At different times of the day, in different situations, and with different energy levels, we operate from various dimensions – yes our own unique dimensions.

Below are very limited and basic dimension styles. Again, knowing our own communication style and understanding other styles and how to speak to them is a win-win situation. When speaking with the next person you visit with you might consider the following:

  • Are they direct and bottom line people? If so, they may be looking for you to be direct (to the point) in conversations.
  • Do they want input, general consensus and discussion from the group? If so, they may want everyone to share their opinion in a friendly diplomatic conversation.
  • Do they like to probe, problem solve and are great planners? If so, they may be looking for the rationale of what is being discussed and need time for alternative planning.
  • Are they analytical, like consistency and following rules? If so, they may need time to process, set priorities, sort the facts and look at the risk before sharing their decision with you.

There are of course many other characteristics to learn about, therefore knowing how people react to “words,” and what their dimension needs are, will allow you to be successful in obtaining your wants. Remember we are not the same all day long, and knowing who we are throughout the day is helpful in reading others.

Here are a few other tips to consider:

  • When speaking, learn not to speak too fast. If you do so, some individuals will not be able to understand you and others may wonder why you are so nervous. However, if you speak too slowly, they may continually interrupt you or their minds may wonder. Learn the right pace – a pace that suggests you are composed and confident.
  • It is always helpful to consider your surroundings and speak at a volume appropriate to the setting. You may need to speak softly when speaking to one or two individuals while louder when speaking to a group – avoid speaking in a monotone style.
  • Deliver your point in a simple style using clear statements that your audience will understand. When you use words, which some in the group may not understand, it creates confusion, and you may not get the understanding you desire. In addition, don’t use acronyms or any given word unless you know the meaning and how it should be applied.
  • If you find people asking you to repeat yourself and you know they can hear you then perhaps they feel you are inarticulate. If this is the case, you will need to learn how to enunciate clearly. The difficulty with this situation is people may feel that if you have no clarity in speech then you have no clarity of thought.
  • Our body language can either send a positive or negative message. It is important to be aware of your gestures, expressions and that the words being said match how you want the message delivered. If they don’t, you may be sending a mixed message.

I could go on and on about communication styles and tips for you to gain trust, respect and be thought of as a good communicator. Contact us and let us visit with you in regards to communication.

Remember, as I tell my clients “We are not who we think we are, we are the perception of others.”

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By Kerry Sokol