We all know that the best salespeople and leaders have top-notch communication skills. For some, excellent communication skills come naturally. We’ve all met these people. As we say, they truly do “light up a room” and in a business context, they’re champions of their game.
So what basic communication skills should you work on in order to up those sales or lock in negotiations in your favor? Well, let’s take a look at the five most important ones you can start working on now to get new customers and investors singing your song.
1. Clear Speech
You’ve got to speak clearly! If you’re a fast talker, that means slowing it down a bit and also being aware of the tone of your voice. If you’re speaking to someone with equally high energy, then it should be ok to run with them at that pace although, if they’re the more laid back type, slow it down and match their speed.
The person you’re speaking to is your teammate or potential customers, not necessarily your competition!
2. Personal Space
Remember not to get too physically close to someone when speaking. You can be direct with the content of what you’re saying but standing too close to someone can be read as aggressive. You’re trying to connect genuinely with your potential customer, investor, or future ally so remember to respect their space.
If you notice them inching away, give them their space and let them feel comfortable before you continue.
3. Eye Contact
Maintaining eye contact is essential as it develops trust and underscores the sincerity of your message. We most commonly read lack of eye contact during conversation as distant and, at its worst, as lying. Who wants to do business with someone who won’t even look you in the eye? Not I!
4. Hand Gestures
Watch any true leader, whether of a nation or a startup, and you’ll see hand gestures used as a way to reinforce their message. Hand gestures are important signals to listeners about the importance of your message and its sincerity.
On the other hand, there are nervous gestures that should be avoided like playing or fidgeting with an object. On top of being distracting to the listener, they may be perceived as a lack of seriousness on your part. Even though you may very well be nervous, nervous gestures can easily be mistaken for boredom or even ill intent.
5. Be A Mirror
Another effective tool when speaking in person to someone is to mirror their body language and hand gestures. Many times we do this without thinking in non-business related contexts because we already understand that it begins to build rapport with the other person.
Think of the last time you went to a party or met friends of friends. Chances are that you eased into the social situation by blending in and following the flow of communication and body language that was already there.
Take that same approach the next time you’re networking or trying to get a new client. The connection with the other person is what you’re trying to build instead of a, “do for me,” approach.
Communication is about truly connecting with the person with whom you’re speaking. It’s not just trying to convince them of something. For related tips, read my article on networking here!