As leaders, it’s important to learn how to put others at ease during conversations. Mastering this skill opens up a world of possibilities! With conversations, you will learn about potential project flaws, how to motivate team members, and how to improve your influence with bosses and clients. And, these are only a few of the benefits!
Are you someone who:
- -Can comfortably talk with all types of people: team members, boards, executives, and influencers?
- -Marvels at others’ ease when conversing with anyone, anywhere, and at any time?
- -Enjoys talking with others and have a desire to listen and learn?
Developing excellent conversation skills will make you a better communicator. If you’re willing to do the work, you can learn how to interact, motivate, and influence others with ease as a leader.
9 Tips to Fine-Tune Your Conversation Skills
- Be Present. Set aside all distractions before starting any conversation. When talking or listening, keep your focus on the other person. Think of them as a VIP, regardless of their title or position in the company. Whenever possible, move from behind your desk and sit in a chair close-by. When working remotely, keep your eyes on the screen. Start to notice how present you are or are not during conversations.
- Unleash Your Natural Curiosity. This is important when interacting with others. Instead of taking a righteous position, keep your mind open to hearing what others have to say, and create new solutions together.
- Allow Others to Communicate in Their Own Way. Expecting others to communicate with you in a particular way can be off-putting. You will miss out on hearing important information. Instead, allow them to communicate in a way that works for them. (To quickly understand their communication style, use the PXT Select.) Develop a thicker skin if you are easily offended. Learn how to ask questions to elicit the best from others instead of debating their POV.
- Have Compassion for Others’ Challenges. Be open to listening, and, when asked, provide appropriate advice. Do this without blaming them (or others) for the situation. Stay objective while being understanding of the situation. This is not a time for jokes or other humor. Be responsible for ensuring any excuses shared don’t derail a project, client relationship, or team effectiveness.
- Keep Your Calendar and Office Decluttered. You might ask why this matters during a conversation? It matters because a clean office is more inviting. Others feel more comfortable and are more open in what they have to say. If working remotely, remove wall art that could be offensive. Always minimize distractions. Otherwise, these can be become deterrents to having conversations and learning what you need to know in any situation.
- Pronounce Their Names Correctly and Use Their Preferred Names. Avoid using shortened versions (e.g., Jenny for Jennifer, etc.) or labeling others (e.g., superwoman, strong man, etc.). If you don’t remember the person’s name or don’t know how to pronounce it, ASK! “I’m not clear how to pronounce your name.” OR “I’ve met so many people recently. Can you remind me of your name?” Then, repeat the person’s name to their satisfaction.
- Ask Questions Without Sounding Like a Reporter. A good conversation puts others at ease. Learn how to have a conversation without first deep-diving into the who, what, when, where, and why. That’s what a reporter does. If you uncover a problem, be responsible for setting up the conversation before deep diving into it. “I’m hearing a potential issue in this conversation and need to clarify what I’m hearing. Is that OK?”
- Share Your Own Experiences. Team members want to know they are not alone in their challenges. When you share your experiences, start with the point of your story and end with the point to re-emphasize it. Remember, keep it short (about 1 minute) and stay focused on the topic. Most importantly, honor confidentiality.
- Keep an Open Mind. Stay focused on the topic at hand by taking a positive and healthy interest in their POV. Listen and respond to questions using straight talk. This encourages team members to stay at ease during any conversation. It’s how you discover what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.
©Jeannette Seibly 2020
Jeannette Seibly is an award-winning executive coach and keynote speaker. For more than 27 years, she has been an expert in guiding leaders to excel in business and beyond. Find out how effective you are as a communicator with all types of people. Contact Jeannette for a confidential conversation. Don’t forget to listen to On the Air with Jeannette Seibly: It’s Your Time for Success on Anchor.FM or YouTube.com.
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