I published the initial Top Ten communication tips a month ago, and they are complemented by the following ten tips. A concerted and continual effort to up-grade your communication skills will help them become good habits, and these good habits in turn help everyone you come in contact with at home, school, office, the grocery store, the library, a client’s conference room, on the bus, and the list goes on. Communication seems to go on vacation most of the time; bring it home.
11. Eye contact. When you speak to people face-to-face make certain you look them in the eye. This helps both of you connect. Good eye contact is a sign of self-respect and respect for the other person. It acknowledges both of you.
12. A healthy handshake. How many people do you meet on any given day? How many acquaintances do you say hello to with a handshake? A strong – but not break-the-hand-and-fingers strong – handshake is any sign of self-respect and good communication. A weak and limp handshake initially is an undisclosed character flaw. With a good handshake, also look the person in the eye.
13. Body language. Non-verbal communication says more than you imagine. It can also be construed as rude, taken wrong or insulting. Rolling your eyes, smirking, frowning, no good eye contact, or fidgeting leave the other person with a sense of frustration. Use your face and body to communicate an understanding and respect for what s/he is saying or doing
14. Smile. As in #13, this is a powerful and positive non-verbal communication. Smiles help make people’s day. Smile not only at your co-workers, clerks, office workers, but strangers too. Your smiles bring smiles to others.
15. Your posture. Another non-verbal cue is how you sit, stand and walk. When you slouch in meetings it can mean you’re bored. When you have your head hanging down when you walk it means you lack self-confidence. Stand up straight when you talk to people. Your posture is one of the first aspects of you that others notice and it makes either a good or bad impression.
16. Return phone calls and e-mails. Frustration rules for everyone when s/he doesn’t get a returned phone call or e-mail. You communicate that the person whose call or e-mail is left unanswered is not worth your time. If you don’t want or need someone’s service, product or information, let him/her know.
“Thanks for the follow-up Susan, and we’re happy with our current printing supplies.” “Mark, we hired someone else, and appreciate your interest in our company.” “Phil, the decision’s been postponed until the end of the year. Call us in January.” Whatever the case, let the other person know. You never know when you may need that person for something later on: don’t burn bridges.
17. Common courtesy! “Please” and “thank you.” These “little” words have a huge impact on everyday life. Everyone is overwhelmed with something in his/her life, be it work, health, family, finances or other projects. Asking nicely makes the request easier. “Please get me the files for x, y, z.” “Please call me next week.” Or “Please, Marsha, keep your questions until I have finished.” Saying, “Thank you for all you do.” or “Thank you for your help.” or “Thank you for your efforts,” lets people know you appreciate them and their input. I know you appreciate recognition; give it back.
Common courtesy needs to be brought back to the top of everyday life. It seems to have been discarded along with dial-up internet and you can help bring it to the forefront.
18. Clarity. How do you feel when you need and want information and the other person talks in vague terms? Frustrated? Yes! For you to help others, articulate your thoughts in clear and succinct language. Speak slowly and with purpose. As I mentioned in the first Top Ten, listening is a key ingredient, and when you speak and articulate your information, the other person or people can listen and understand better. What does, “I’ll get that report to you soon, mean”? “We’ll talk later?” Or, “I’ll get back to you at the end of summer?” Help the other person “see” what you say. Soon = two hours or two days; specify. Later = the same. The end of the summer = 10 September.
19. RSVP. This may refer only to social engagements, and yet it’s a concern for those who invite you to attend any function. The RSVP is to help the organizer know how many people to plan for, to buy for, to prepare food for, and to give the host/ess a concrete number. As in #16, ignoring an invitation says more about you than you might imagine. Send a simple, “No, thank you.” “I’ll be out of town.” “I’m committed to another charity.” Myriad replies come to mind.
20. Care. Communicate that you care not only about your co-workers, but also about your work. Good energy, getting reports in on time, being prepared at meetings, offering to help, and other caring actions help co-workers, clients, the team, your company and above all, your bottom line. Your actions are a reflection on how you feel about yourself.
Dee Dukehart runs Sandbox Communications, an international communications consulting business. She helps individuals, teams and companies improve their business strategies and bottom line with more powerful presentations, business writing and communication. To have her help your bottom line and you, contact: Dee@DeeDukehart.com * http://www.DeeDukehart.com * 303-753-1111