You’ve probably heard the saying that “communication is key,” and it’s true—communication is a critical component of almost any day-to-day activity, both at work and at home. So, we asked eight experts for their tips on effective communication. Some of our experts shared how to communicate with an in-person audience, while others shared how to connect to an online audience. In both cases, their tips are incredibly valuable, so check them out below!
Q1: What is your number one tip for effectively communicating with your audience offline?
1. Listen first.
Whether addressing a large audience, an individual or even creating a podcast, I have always found that the best way to communicate effectively is to first listen. It seems almost counter-intuitive since we tend to think of talking as the main component in communications. But think for a moment of how many times you’ve been in frustrating conversations where you felt the other person wasn’t listening: the salesperson not listening to your needs, a group of co-workers who are so focused on their own issues that they aren’t listening to your views, or even the speech you couldn’t relate to because the speaker didn’t prepare first by researching the needs of his/her audience. When you really listen, you build trust with your audience no matter whether it’s large or small. I believe this is the critical first step in effective communication.
Co-host of The Women who Succeed Podcast
2. Ask questions.
In my opinion, there is nothing more powerful in terms of communicating and—just as importantly—connecting with someone in person than asking them questions about themselves, and listening…really, really listening. Questions might include how they got started in their business, and what they enjoy most about it. If appropriate, you might even ask, “How can I know if someone I’m speaking with would be a good prospective customer for you?” Again, keep your focus on them. Follow up that conversation with a personalized, handwritten thank you note and you have just separated yourself from the pack in a very significant and value-based way. The single greatest people skill is a highly-developed and authentic interest in the other person.
Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker and Bestselling Coauthor of The Go-Giver Book Series
3. Link to what the audience cares about.
My recommendation to effectively communicate with an audience, regardless if it’s one-on-one or speaking to a large group, is to link your ideas with those things the audience already cares about. In today’s marketplace, audiences are bombarded with messages, and if yours isn’t obviously relevant, it will be ignored. The premise of my approach is to wake up to the reality that people don’t care about your company, product, or service. What they care about is themselves and solving the business issues that are causing them discomfort. Yet, if you can connect the dots between what your company, product, or service offers, and what they care about, you’ll help them perceive higher levels of value in what I can provide and inspire them to care.
CEO at Hoffeld Group
4. Keep it simple and focused.
Steve Jobs was famous for his communication style which was simple, understandable, and focused. He would start with a big, bold, statement to get our attention, and then explain it in a way we would understand. He kept it simple by staying on point and also believed in the power of three. He would have three supportive statements to his main message. Lastly, he would show us what he meant and tell us what he told us in the end.
Award-Winning Author and Keynote Speaker
5. Make phone calls.
My top advice for communicating with your audience offline is to pick up the phone. It’s not scalable, but that’s not the point. Make a habit of calling people who are important to you every day. Even a quick voicemail makes a big impression.
Founder and President at Heinz Marketing
Q2: What is your number one tip for effectively communicating with your audience online?
6. Know your audience.
I give 60 international keynotes and book signings per year. People often ask for the #1 tip on public speaking and I tell them, it’s important to know your material inside and out, but it’s still more important to know your audience. The same holds true for social media. You need to know your different audiences—one size doesn’t fit all. In the offline world, you might shake your grandfather’s hand, high five your dad, and fist-bump your nephew. The key is to give your audience something of value. Spam is not value. Take their viewpoint—what would be the most useful and beneficial to them, not what is most beneficial to your company.
Bestselling Author & Keynote Speaker at Equalman
7. Be authentic.
To answer your question, I’d say it is threefold: Be authentic, be helpful, and give first. Authenticity is important because people can see through if you try to emulate a different persona or personality. Just be yourself. The second two go together, in that you should always aim to help others first without the expectation of something in return. Deliver information simply in a way that eliminates jargon and solves a problem, and people will appreciate that. Reciprocity comes after someone knows you are authentic and trying to help because you have the ability to.
Head of Marketing at Curbell Plastics
8. Focus on specific channels.
There are SO MANY channels that you can use to communicate online—so the key is to focus on the intersection of where your audience is and the channel that you prefer or love the most. In my case, I tend to focus on Twitter and Facebook. That’s odd because I think a lot of my audience is on LinkedIn, but for some reason, I don’t tend to engage on LinkedIn as much as I should. And let’s not forget about email—email is online as well. So that counts.
Publisher of DIYMarketers.com