Whether you are doing a business presentation, speaking at a conference, or writing a blog entry, here are some tips on how to communicate better.
Know your audience.
You need to do research about your audience to understand what they know about what you want to speak to them about and how to get them to be interested in it. Language also comes into play here, because you have to adjust it to ensure that the words you use would be easily understood by those to whom you are speaking.
Master your subject matter.
This is at the very core of competence. If you want your audience to believe you, must show them that you know exactly what you are speaking to them about. You also need to be prepared to answer their questions, especially when meeting with clients, because questions from your clients often signify that they are about to take you up on your offer.
In speaking: Practice what you will say in front of a mirror or record yourself while you pretend to be speaking to someone. Observe yourself and take note of areas for improvement, such as eye contact, hand gestures, posture, and whether you display inappropriate mannerisms. You can also ask a friend to help you with these observations. Keep practicing until you are satisfied with your performance and feel confident enough to speak with utmost ease.
In writing: Just keep doing it! 🙂 Also, ask a knowledgeable person to edit, proofread, and comment on your work. Bear their feedback in mind the next time you write a new piece. Repeat.
Observe and listen to your audience.
Always remember that communication is a two-way street. Whether you’re having a conversation or speaking in front of a large group of people, your audience is always communicating right back to you—with their facial expressions, eye contact, and sometimes explicit feedback through questions, comments, and arguments. It is very important to be aware of these and address them accordingly.
Responding to explicit feedback is the easy part. You can answer a question, respectfully counter an argument, or acknowledge a comment. Nonverbal cues are a little tougher, but still easy enough to handle. For example, when you see your audience looking confused, you can either ask them if they need any clarification, adjust your language to be more understandable, or expound on a subject matter further.
Reading helps you gain knowledge because it exposes you to a variety of information, as well as different uses of language. This way, you not only get to have more topics to write about, you can also find the best ways to express yourself. You also get expand your vocabulary. Furthermore, through reading, you are able to understand different worldviews better, which could help you empathise and relate to people better.