In today’s world, all we want is a good cup of tea and a light-hearted conversation with our friends and families. But as we spend an increasing amount of time on social media and other e-communication, we may slowly lose the confidence or ability to express ourselves. Glued to gadgets and typing our next caption, maybe we haven’t shared ideas with our friends about the blog we are about to post. Maybe it’s because we lack confidence about our idea. Or, we don’t know how to communicate it clearly. But do not underestimate the power of confident communication. Steve Jobs, one of the greatest entrepreneurs and communicators of our times, once showcased an incomplete product, the NeXT Computer that ran on a dummy OS, and the world still bought it. That’s the power of confident communication!
Theoretically speaking, in today’s day and age, communicating with people must be easier than ever before. With our phones and gadgets, connecting with people lies a mere seconds and keystrokes away. Yet, increasingly we find ourselves in sticky situations because of the failure to communicate effectively.
While most of us may be comfortable with in-person communication, the virtual world is a whole new avenue for interaction. Whether you’re a pro communicator or a struggling one, here are five pivotal aspects to make you a more effective communicator.
1. Eye contact
If you’ve ever experienced your eyes following someone else’s like a reflex, or if you’ve ever been uncomfortable around someone because of their “stare,” you have experienced the pivotal power of eye contact.
When used in the appropriate manner, eye contact can evoke a sense of sincerity, comfort and trust. The primary motive for the speaker is being listened to and acknowledged. What better tool than eye contact to do exactly that!
Whether virtually or in person, interview or presentation, it has the power to engage people and make the communicator appear more honest, memorable and self-aware.
It is safe to assume that your friend, whose smile you can hear (or see?) on the phone, has at least once influenced your mood just with their smile. Much like yawning and laughing, smiling too can be contagious — and rather influential.
Psychologists have identified over 200 types of smiles, but often the most impactful ones are those that are contextually-appropriate. Learning to use the right smile at the right time makes a world of difference — it can make you look genuine or fake, and can influence the dynamics of the communication.
We can all spot a nervous speaker — the one that stumbles, finds it difficult to gather their thoughts, searches for words, and possibly overthinks. None of those sound like anyone’s preferred condition during a conversation. Regardless, nervousness can hit anyone at any time — even the most practiced and confident speaker.
People are more likely to remember the nervousness than the topic of conversation. This is why staying calm is vital. A calm and composed speaker is able to listen and process information smoothly, find and formulate effective responses, communicate them clearly and register all that’s happening. This sounds like a person in-control of their environment and perhaps, to a certain extent, even the conversation!
4. Pauses and Fillers
If you closely observe good speakers and orators, you’ll notice that they barely use any fillers, and that their pauses actually add value to their speech. While pausing at the right time helps engage and connect with the audience, pausing too often or inappropriately is a sure way to lose them.
Similarly, a lot of speakers use filler words in their speech, sometimes unknowingly. If you’ve ever said “You know”, “Uh”, “Um” “How do I say it” or something similar, you’re guilty of using fillers. Notoriously known for snapping audiences out of the speaker’s grip, fillers are a subconscious part of people’s communication. Nevertheless, they must be weeded out.
Speaking words clearly and in the correct manner is an art which captivates the listener. Shashi Tharoor is a prime example of extraordinary vocabulary and pronunciation. His craft has made him a role model for a lot of millennials, and that says a lot about this particular trait.
While pronunciation may seem like a good-to-have trait, it is paramount for someone to clearly understand the message being communicated. Non-native English speakers bring aspects of pronunciation from their native language into English, which sometimes affects the clarity of the spoken word. That could also explain the variations in accents across regions and even countries, couldn’t it?
Regardless of where you’re from or what accent you have, clarity in your communication is very important. It determines how many times and if your listener has to say “I’m sorry what?” Since it’s ideal to aim for zero times, it is also ideal to practice clarity in pronunciation.
Practicing in front of a mirror or with a friend may seem like an easy solution. But often people we know and trust may not be able to give us brutally-honest, constructive feedback. And the ones that do might get tired of frequent requests.
MirrorAI was born out of the need to consider the quality and quantity of feedback that may be required to improve and hone people’s communication skills. Harnessing the power of artificial intelligence to provide accurate and quick feedback, MirrorAI has set out to be a non-judgemental ally that strengthens communication skills by focusing on the five vital elements.
Go ahead and chisel your communication skills with an app that focuses on only what matters and leaves biases and opinions out of the picture.