by Bryan Heathman
Have you ever noticed that some people seem to have all the answers? No matter what the topic is, they always seem to communicate their opinion with ease and style.
They can sit down at a table in a fancy Italian restaurant and order with the ease of cable news anchor, sharing a private joke with the waiter, riffing on the difference between bolognese and mayonnaise. In fact, in any discussion, these people manage to bring home their point as if they’d considered it for years and it’s part of their DNA.
You probably know someone like this – just about everyone does. In fact, just about everyone is that person at some time or other. You’ve probably had moments when you just felt ON, when the words that tumbled out of your mouth seemed to be fueled by magic, as if you’d been hit by a Glib Stick and your tongue had turned to silver.
Communication is an essential ingredient in this shrinking world and in this age of social influence. When you can capture this essence and call it up on command, then you can use it however you choose, whether it’s to move the masses or simply get a really decent plate of lasagna.
So, what is the essence that we’re talking about here? How does this happen? What makes communication so easy for the gifted few, and how can you acquire and harness this trait on command?
Say It Like You Mean It – Because You Do!
The first thing to notice about communicating with social aplomb is that people who possess this spark are confident.
It isn’t so much that they are confident of themselves, which is certainly a great place to start. More to the point, it’s that they’ve spent time getting to know themselves, they are confident of what they know, and they like themselves. They have a healthy respect for the skin they’re in and the engine driving it. Graceful communication requires confidence and sincerity.
Connect With Compassion
The conveniences of the modern world have made it easier than ever to communicate – or at least, they’ve made it easier to send and receive messages. Two-way communication is easier than it ever has been, and one-to-many communication is as simple as writing a blog post or joining a LinkedIn group.
The unfortunate side effect of all this technological evolution is the involution of manners, compassion and just plain good sense. It’s all too easy to treat relationships with others in a cavalier or trivial way. Don’t like your friend? Unfriend them. Don’t like your boss? Go get another one. Rather than working out any disagreements or differences of opinion, the tendency is to move on. There’s another one lined up right behind this one, a greener grass, a better friend or client or connection.
Eye contact is the beginning of connection, that core-to-core meeting of minds to bring them into alignment with each other. When you’re looking someone in the eye, there’s no chance for missed communication and clear connection is inevitable.
Speak To One, Even If You’re Talking To Many
Communication is fundamental to all relationships, and relationships are fundamental to all successes. This applies to business as well as life. You want to cultivate those relationships deliberately, give them the focused attention they deserve and room to grow.
Whether you’re a member of a social network, an employee in a corporation, a solopreneur, an author, a retired executive or someone leading a life of privilege and leisure, at some point clear communication to a group is going to be required of you. There’s no getting around it – it happens to the best of us!
When your time comes to address a group, you can use this opportunity to your advantage and build rapport. Select a single persona to serve as the model you’re speaking to – an avatar. Then speak or write as if you were communicating only with that person. The effect is that each member in the group will feel like you’re talking just to them alone.
In my role as publisher at Made For Success, I’m lucky to have the chance to work with some of the top motivational speakers and authors in the world. In fact I joke that the universal mantra here seems to be “I speak, therefore I am.” But I really do feel privileged to work with such a larger-than-life clientele. It’s not uncommon for one of my authors to connect with me en route from Dubai to Los Angeles, or flying the skies between Sydney and Springfield. The field of Communication has been kind to them.
What they all have in common is that their communication is sincere, compassionate and connected to their audience. How will you apply these elements in your life? One thing is sure: when you do, the sky is the limit.
Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success. Bryan works with authors as a publisher, rainmaker and marketer including Zig Ziglar, Donald Trump and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into paying customers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes executive positions with Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.