Earlier this week, I attended an event hosted by Tekserve Studio called Powerful Communication Skills facilitated by Steve Friedman. First off, thank you Tekserve Studio and Steve for a great event. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the presentation and took away a lot of amazing pointers. It’s almost a shame if I don’t share them with you. Great communication skills are essential regardless of who you are and what you do. Tekserve Studio hosts this event regularly so if you get a chance, you should definitely go. Bookmark this page to see when they’ll have it next. Here are my four biggest takeaways from the event.
1. Utilize the power of the pause
Pauses are not luxuries, they are necessities. When I was training for my TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certification, the first thing I learned was the power of the pause. Pausing is a universal language. People have the tendency to ramble without inserting pauses, hoping to avoid that awkward silence. However, listeners need those moments to process what they just heard. Pauses are crucial for listeners to digest and form their thoughts. By strategically inserting powerful pauses in your conversation, you’ll be able to effectively and persuasively deliver your message.
2. Have self-awareness
Being self-aware is easy to say but difficult to put into practice. We all have those habits that prevent us from communicating well. Maybe you don’t move around as much. Or maybe you use too many filler words such as “um” and “like.” Steve recommended recording yourself and watching what you do. Evaluate those habits that need to go and start picking up ones that will strengthen your message. It takes a lot of practice and effort but it’s definitely worth it. When you notice those habits coming back out, catch yourself and fix the problem on the spot.
3. Be coachable
Steve emphasized the importance being a coachable communicator. What this means is that people should be open-minded about learning new things and adapting to change. Communication coaches work with people from all walks of life and have many stories to tell. Their role is to help you deliver that story. Take into consideration what others say about your communication style and try to implement them. Take risks and try new things to find out what works best for you. Finally, listen to your coaches. Although you’re not physically talking, you’re talking volumes when you can truly listen to what they say.
4. Show your passion
This is what it really comes down to. Someone could have incredible stage presence and sharp communication skills but passion is what always ignites the crowd. It allows the audience to build trust and rapport with you and ultimately relate to you. Passion is what allows you to connect with the audience. If you’re truly passionate about the topic of the conversation, then you don’t have to worry. Let that speak for itself. But even if you are presenting about something you don’t care about, find something that gets you excited. Give listeners a reason to care by showing why the topic of discussion is important to you. Make it relevant to their lives. When you do, they’ll listen and they’ll remember.
After the presentation, Steve invited a couple of people from the audience to give impromptu talks and offered coaching. During the presentation, I asked a question about how one could go about analyzing his or her own non-verbal habits and where to draw the line between engaging and straight-up distracting. As a result, I was volunteered first to do my improvisational presentation. I ended up talking about my capstone and passion for food. I admit, I was nervous but it was also a great experience to share what I love and also get priceless public speaking advice. Your takeaways might be different but I guarantee that you’ll be walking away with great information in mind.