The Art of Communication within business
5 Common Mistakes Made in Conversation
In work, as in life it helps to be a good communicator to get your message across. If you have poor speaking habits you can compromise any situation where conversation is valued. Whether at work or in play, your personal performance could be perfect, your manners impeccable and your intelligence top class, but the necessity to make the most of the art of communication – to improve general communication – is important to personal success.
Whether you are wanting to perform well at interview, working to sign-up a new client, motivating your staff or making speaking with professional bodies, in association with your business, it is how you speak and how you hold a conversation can bring success, regardless of other skills or talents you may have.
Five tips to avoid that help in the art of communication
1. Using Filler Words
These are a no-no wherever possible. Filler words are quite common now in most speech and often go unnoticed, though can be an irritant or distract from your message. Starting sentences with the word “so,”; injecting the word “like,” or filling conversational pauses with an “urm” or an “uh” are innocent enough though if used often can reflect poorly on you as the speaker.
If you think you are ‘guilty’ of using filler words, look to re-train yourself to avoid them. Make yourself conscious of them and keep correcting yourself every time you use one. Over time your natural speech pattern will be free of them.
2. Repetitive Vocal Inflections should be avoided
The inflections in our voice say just as much as the words that are shaped by them. Speak the sentence “I did not steal that ring” and each time place emphasis on a different word. Inflection placed on the ‘steal’ gives a different meaning to one that places it on ‘that’ – try it!
Do not let inflection becomes repetitive, try hard to avoid the near-constant monotone. Also, do not fall into the habit of uptalking – many people us this mode of talking and thus end every sentence with an upward inflection, just as in a question.
You want to create interest in your tone and inflection so create variety and interest by adding varied intonation and inflections.
3. Do not speak too fast
Pace is everything when it comes to the art of communication. If you are excited or nervous, it is likely that you speed up to get your message across quickly. Equally, if you have a lot to say, it may also be that you gallop through your words so that it forms a constant stream/ a monologue.
Rapid speaking can also be used by someone who does not like silence. Some people subconsciously fear silence and need to talk to fill small gaps in conversation.
The test is to learn to speak slower and where possible leave gaps that could be used to interject. By following this practice, you will have time to think about words and your topic. Pauses can also create interest and add impact to your sentences. Talking more slowly, most importantly, can make you appear more confident and in-control.
Remember that in slowing down your speech, it is highly unlikely that your audience will think you too slow. Listen to yourself as you speak and thing of slowing yourself down, so no matter how fast you think you are talking, try talking just a little bit slower.
4. Manners not Mannerisms
If you choose to speak in public, either as a public speaker or n meetings with clients, look to minimise on those small mannerisms that you may find in normal day-today conversation. Whether it is small ticks and mannerisms or general and repetitive gesticulations, it is worth looking to minimise or eradicate them when communicating so as not to distract or annoy your audience.
Work with a friend or record yourself speaking to uncover some of the mannerisms you might be neglecting. It will be tough to break the habit but is well worth the time and effort.
5. Rambling will leave you lost
We all get nervous and rambling can be an indication of this when communicating with others.
With a pre-prepared speech, you probably will not have to worry about rambling as your notes will keep you on track. In a more informal setting, or in conversation one-to- one, rambling can be more prevalent in the back-and-forth between two parties, in general conversation. You need to refrain from offering extensive ‘off-track’ monologues to a simple question – keeping responses simple, in reply, is always the key.
Failing to be concise, will detract from your message and it will lose its impact.
Ongoing practice is essential for those wishing to perfect the art of communication and of interesting conversation. Eradicate bad habits before they get the better of you. Practice in front of a mirror or with someone you trust, and work to change and suppress bad habits. With time, you will free yourself of them, and over time your conversation, whether personal or professional, will be enhanced. Serve yourself, serve your business and server your customers better by perfecting the art of communication and create even greater chances for professional success.
and the peakinsight team