Answers to Five Common Questions About Becoming an Effective Communicator

Hiring marketing or content marketing talent?Effective communication is critical in today’s business environment. Arguably, perhaps, even more critical than it has been in the past—and more challenging. Interacting with others in a remote or virtual environment is different than interacting in person. But regardless of how or where you’re connecting with others, some common questions come up frequently. Here we offer a look at “5 Common Questions About Becoming an Effective Communicator.”

1. Why should I avoid filler words like “uh” and “like” when speaking?

These words are not only distractions, but they also detract from speakers’ professionalism. While most of us may occasionally use a filler word or two, using them too often can cause your audiences to tune out and prevent you from getting your points across—whether in a one-on-one or group setting.
One of the tips I share with students to help them minimize or eliminate the use of filler words is to slow down and become comfortable with pausing (without any vocal inflection or fillers). A few-second pause is far less distracting than filler words and can help speakers relax and feel more in control of their communication.

2. Why are “I” statements less accusatory than “you” statements?

“You” statements come across as blaming and impact listeners negatively. When this happens they not only may tune you out, but may react negatively to whatever point you’re making, immediately disagreeing with whatever you may be attempting to communicate.
“I” statements, on the other hand, put the onus or burden on you and your perspectives. For instance, “I feel frustrated when guests arrive late to a meeting,” or “When I receive assignments late on a Friday afternoon it makes it difficult for me to relax over the weekend.”

3. What does active listening sound like?

Active listening is more about “look” than “sound.” Active listeners maintain steady (although not overwhelming) eye contact, have a friendly or neutral look on their faces, nod to indicate agreement with what the speaker is saying, and avoid the tendency to interrupt or share their own perspectives before a speaker has had the opportunity to share theirs.
They ask clarifying questions to gain better understanding, repeat back what they feel they’ve heard and actively participate in developing next steps, as appropriate or relevant.

4. How do facial expressions affect communication?

Facial expressions can either positively support or detract from communication. As mentioned previously, nodding can indicate agreement or support. Frowning, on the other hand, can convey disagreement which can create stress or concern for the speaker and distract them from conveying their points.

5. How can I make small changes in the way I communicate?

Make a list of the areas of opportunity you have to either improve or strengthen your communication skills. Then prioritize them and tackle them one by one, focusing on each for a week or more, for instance, until you feel you’ve mastered or overcome them.
What challenges have you experienced in becoming more effective with your communication? What additional tips or words of advice would you offer?

About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We work with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content. Whether on- or offline, or both, we’ll help you achieve desired results.

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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