As business professionals we often spend just about all day at our desk without saying a word to anyone. Particularly if you work from home. Yes, we are communicating. However, it seems that most communication is online. Perhaps for some our ability to communicate confidently has always been a barrier.
As we continue with the new hybrid model of working, are we in danger of losing that ease of just chatting to someone, having a conversation, or more importantly putting our point of view across in an engaging manner?
Perhaps we haven’t quite come to that scenario yet as many of us are busy constantly setting up appointments, meeting new clients, networking where possible and making connections with a number of new people.
If not worked on and put into practise, this lack of two-way communication of expressing yourself and listening to others can be an invisible barrier that holds you back from building your career or growing your business.
Here are a few points that may help you connect with others through confident communication..
See it for what it is. If you’re reluctant to pick up the phone or approach someone at a networking event, recognise that it is generally fear that is creating the block. It’s like an invisible wall that stops you going through and reaching the other side to greet someone and express yourself. It is only imaginary.
Question others. It takes away the pressure of having to talk about yourself and you may learn something new.
I worked with a client who was uncomfortable networking. He mentioned how he was just not interested in talking to someone in a completely unrelated (boring to him) field than what he was working in. This low interest in others is another barrier and can be seen as arrogance.
Take the time to get to know others first. People don't care about you and what you do until they know you care about them. Build relationships and trust first.
If you practise asking questions, listen and show interest in others, you never know, that person may be connected to someone who could benefit you either personally or professionally.
Who am I? l listened to a podcast recently about clarity. The coach/presenter said to ask this question every time you are about to work or communicate. Think about what you, the person is really bringing to this event or moment.
Self-confidence is a learned trait. You are you and have your own set of accomplishments and strengths. Acknowledge that by reminding yourself of past successes and feelings of accomplishment, appreciate the value you bring to others and own your confidence, Easier said than done, I know. I was reminded of that when I worked with a coach who encouraged me to list everything I thought I was good at. Why don’t you try it?
Connection is my word of the year. I’m not great at working alone or being isolated. Covid reminded me of that and although I can appear to be reserved to others, I really do like people. Okay not everyone all of the time! However, connections and mixing with other people makes me feel happy and yes, sometimes it requires a bit of extra effort to smile and be friendly. It is just the invisible barrier again saying, “they don’t really like me.”
One step at a time . Effective communication is important when building relationships with clients, potential clients or customers, colleagues and the media. Creating new connections, circles of influence and ultimately customers takes time.
Most of us can count our true friendships on one hand. Those people we feel at ease with and most relaxed and ourselves with. Value the friendships you have and treat others how you’d like to be treated.
Your clients deserve the best version of you possible, and slowly by communicating well and treating current or potential clients with excellent customer service you will ultimately break through the communication barrier and build good professional relationships.
Learn more about defining your personal brand with the free video series, NOOK, LOOK, HOOK 3 Steps to Build a Stand Out Personal Brand.
Sue Currie is a speaker and the author of IMPRESSario, Present and Promote the Star Within You. She is recognised as a leading authority on personal branding and professional presence to help business executives and entrepreneurial professionals communicate with impact and influence. Sue’s suite of services delivered through workshops, consulting, coaching and keynote presentations provides a multi-faceted approach to gain high transformation for her clients.