Ever notice that some executives you interact with are instantly likeable, trustworthy and respected? Chances are they apply the following communication strategies in every conversation – eye contact, listening, enjoyment and benevolence.
It’s widely accepted that great communication skills are a key ingredient for business owners, executives and managers. How you communicate can make or break relationships, increase your team’s loyalty, set standards for your team and, strengthen your professional reputation. However, these fundamental skills are all too often overlooked.
Here are four strategies I suggest you use to earn trust in all your interactions.
Essential for building rapport in meetings, interviews and panel discussions, sincere eye contact sends a message of trust. I do not advocate using eye contact to intimidate – which can happen. Narcissistic or intimidating eye contact sends a completely different message. A narcissistic gaze can be threatening and unnerving. If you want to build real rapport, I suggest a warm, sincere approach.
A crucial part of being a great communicator. Many clients of mine have realized they’ve gone about listening in a way that made them less effective communicators. Essentially in meetings if you are listening for your chance to interrupt or to add to the conversation or to impress you are exhibiting the opposite of leadership. Effective leaders listen to understand, not to interrupt.
Enjoy Your Conversations
I often advise clients to find joy in delivering their speeches. If you are enjoying yourself, chances are your audience will enjoy listening to you. The same is true for small meetings and 1:1 conversation. Take a moment to check in with your team member or colleague before jumping into work-related matters. This will make your colleague feel valued and appreciated.
Communicating with kindness is a valuable tool in almost any situation. If I have a client seeking a job or job promotion, I remind them that one of the most important goals for the interview is to have a pleasant conversation. The same is true for tense discussions, quarterly reviews and reprimands. In most conversations you cannot control how others will respond to your viewpoint. In an interview, you have no control as to whether or not they hire you, but you can control whether or not you are kind. This can make just as much of an impression as your accomplishments.
For more successful interactions, try these tools starting today and notice the shift in how others responded to you. Not only will you begin to earn more trust and respect, you will also help to create a more kind and effective work atmosphere.
About the Author
Lisa Wentz, author of Grace Under Pressure: A Masterclass in Public Speaking, is a public speaking expert who coaches executives and managers from Fortune 500 companies and the non-profit sector.