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Here are four ways to improve your communications – whether those are over the phone, board room presentations, or electronic messages like email.
#1 Cut Out the Fluff
The key to clear and potent communication is to use only as many words as necessary to get the message across, while resisting the urge to use more. Busy decision makers don’t have time for longwinded explanations, and it becomes more critical the higher you go in the organization. Put across your ideas succinctly and convincingly.
#2 Don’t Sacrifice Clarity
To persuade and influence you have to make your message crystal clear, in a logical and point-by-point sequence that is easy to follow. Get bogged-down in too many details and your audience will glaze over or the person reading your communication will lose interest.
The best way to create that kind of clarity is to give yourself time to organize, write, and rewrite your thoughts and your drafts beforehand. Even the best professional writers spend most of their time editing and honing their messages until they are tight and polished.
#3 Avoid Business Speak
Avoid the urge to use lots of business-speak, which can detract from what you are really trying to say. Corporate slang like “open the kimona” – which is supposed to mean “be more transparent” or “reveal internal information” can confuse and even offend people.
Meanwhile words and phrases like “decisioning” or “action that” are not just bad grammar, they also sound contrived. If you mean “make a decision” or “initiate action” then just say so! You don’t need to use a word like “incentivize” if “motivate” will work just as well.
#4 Use Strong, Energetic Words
Use simple but meaningful words that convey power. Oftentimes shorter, less complicated words have more impact than longer, fancier ones. To make your point always choose words that get to the point.
If “best” will work, you don’t need to use “optimum,” and the same goes for saying “finish” instead of “finalize.” Another useful technique is to use action verbs in lieu of passive ones. Instead of “We are planning to start launching,” say “We plan to launch.”
As a pioneering and visionary innovator, Sarah is a certified image master (CIM) and brand strategist, speaker, trainer and author. Her company, Illustra Consulting, provides leading-edge image and brand management strategies for top leaders and high achievers who wish to take their career to the next level. She also delivers innovative and inspiring corporate workshops to assist large organizations in strengthening their corporate brand.
Copyright © 2015, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIM, CPBS 1-800-267-3245, [email protected]
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