By Tiffany Nielsen, Advocate for Civility
As a professional or graduate looking for new employment opportunities, when you communicate you want to convey confidence and credibility, and you want people to feel compelled to listen. Considering that a lot of what is communicated is non-verbal, body language and vocal inflection, you can mis-communicate your real message. Use these six tips to increase the effectiveness of your communication and ensure that you always put your best foot forward during any interview.
Recognize the Power in Your Posture
Your communication starts with the stance you choose when you speak. To really get your point across pull your shoulders back to slightly exaggerate your posture and open up your diaphragm. Do not play with a pen, fidget or cross your arms and legs when you speak. Using open body language conveys that you mean what you say and are open to the input of others.
Project Your Voice
Recognize that the purpose of the volume of your voice is not exclusively to ensure that the listeners hear you. Volume adds authority to your vocal presentation and it is important to speak up to project the volume that demands attention.
The most prevalent challenge in everyday communication is the lack of clear articulation in conversation. Every time you use a speech filler as in “ah” or “um” or “you know” or “so,” you are detracting from the confidence you want your words to convey and you diminish the power of your message. Ask a trusted colleague to tell you what your speech fillers are and work to eliminate them. You can also record a few of your phone conversations; you will be surprised at what you hear.
Pay Attention to Your Pace
Everyone has his own natural pace for speaking. When we are nervous we may really speed up. When we talk too fast we convey a lack of experience, and we do not allow time for our listeners to comprehend what we are saying. Pay attention to your pace, be sure to breath and do not be afraid to pause.
Keep In Eye Contact
Another huge challenge many executives have when they are talking is that they look everywhere except at the people to whom they are speaking. Do not let that be you. When you avoid looking at people, they may subconsciously feel that you are not telling the truth and you are also more likely to lose their attention. Staying in eye contact makes people feel like you are speaking to them personally rather than just speaking out loud.
Keep your message consistent. Do not contradict yourself from one communication to the next, or be inconsistent in your words on the same subject to different people. This can quickly put interviewers in the position of distrusting you. Consistent communication is key to building confidence and rapport.
Every time you speak you solidify or confuse the effectiveness you have been working hard to create. Identify which of these communication areas need the most attention from you and get started today. Your communication is the cornerstone of your professional image. Make sure yours is working for you.
Tiffany Nielsen is an advocate for civility. She is a speaker, trainer and co-author of the book, Incredible Business. Tiffany is President of Premier Etiquette and is a trained etiquette and image consultant who specializes in business etiquette, children’s etiquette and workplace readiness for college graduates. To book Tiffany for a seminar, as a speaker for your upcoming event, or for private coaching, contact her at (559)280-9859 or via email at email@example.com. Be her friend on Facebook at Premier Etiquette Training and Consulting. Visit her website at www.tiffanynielsen.com for additional resources.
Copyright 2010 Tiffany Nielsen. All Rights Reserved. To reprint, please contact Tiffany Nielsen at firstname.lastname@example.org for permission.