Tired of not having your voice be heard? Here are four simple principles that will help you increase your credibility and effectiveness:
1. Ask others what they think. Too many people are in love with the sound of their own voice. Don't be one of these people! The best way to capture someone else's attention is to ask them a question they are interested in answering. This last part is especially important; you are not trying to put others on the spot, but rather to give them a chance to share what's on their mind.
2. Listen carefully. Merely asking a question isn't enough. You have to actually listen to the answer. This is how to make others feel trusted, valuable and important - by taking your time to listen. It is also how to make the next two steps possible.
3. Repeat what they said. Looking someone in the eye is a good start. Nodding your head can't hurt. But effective communication depends on your ability to repeat what a person told you and thus demonstrate to him or her that you understood what they said. Doing this also gives the other person a chance to clarify, in the event you didn't understand their thoughts in the first attempt.
4. Personalize what you say to each person. Intelligence is not only having something of value to say to others, but also knowing what to say differently to each person. Here is where you prove your ability to discern what makes each person unique, and it is also how you give others reason to listen to your opinions. It is how you establish your credibility. If you know a colleague is under pressure to wrap up a special project, tell him something that will help him do this. If you know another person thinks in pictures, not words, then use vivid descriptions instead of a stream of numbers. Don't lecture an entry level person on what it takes to be a leader; don't bog your CEO down in details she doesn't need to know.
Bruce Kasanoff is a business coach to entrepreneurs and executives. You can engage him for either a quick reality check or an ongoing relationship as your trusted advisor. Learn more or book an appointment at Now Possible.
Image credit: Flickr member KayVee.Inc.