Successful entrepreneurs are great visionaries, but they also share the gift of gab. They know how to communicate their ideas in an engaging way so others can see and embrace the vision too. More simply stated, they are excellent story-tellers and evangelists for their companies.
In today’s competitive marketplace, communication skills are an important competitive advantage. In fact, Diane DiResta, a professional speech coach and author of “Knockout Presentations: How to Deliver Your Message with Power, Punch and Pizzazz,” says “If you aren’t speaking with power and confidence, you are leaving money on the table. The people who are good with presentation and communication skills get more jobs, promoted more, get more sales and get more business.”
I concur 100 percent with DiResta’s analysis. No one can sell your business better than you. Yet, not everyone is a natural communicator. Many business owners are fearful of making presentations or speaking in public. But that doesn’t mean you can’t overcome your fears and learn to present with confidence.
Pubic speaking is still the number one fear – even outranking death. According to DiResta, although people have many different reasons to explain their fears, it really boils down to the fear of humiliation. “So when I work with people I work on recovery strategies. We look at the worst things that could happen and then have a response or recovery strategy in mind. “
Overcoming the fear of making presentations and learning to communicate like a pro, means just getting out there and doing it. DiResta recommends starting off with small opportunities, such as speaking on a panel. And whatever you do, don’t forget to breathe, she adds. When you are fearful, you tend to hold your breath, and that of course can make you feel light headed. So take nice deep breaths.
Communication skills are also important in less formal settings such as voice mail and social media. First, let’s talk about voice mail. Personally, I hate listening to voice mails because most people ramble on and on and wait to the very last minute to leave a call-back number. If I don’t get it the first time, I have to listen to the rambling message all over again. What a productivity eater!
So DiResta says to think of voice mail as another communication strategy. You want to be brief, and leave your number at the beginning and the end of the message — slowly.
Utilizing social media is also another extension of your business communication strategy. Always keep in mind your company’s brand and reputation is at stake in the cyber-networking world. DiResta reminds us to be professional and to add value in our communications. There should be a certain amount of personal disclosure for engagement because people want to know you but you should remain primarily focused on the main purpose of the communication which is business.
To learn more about how you can enhance your communication skills, listen to my podcast interview with Diane DiResta. http://www.susansoloviconline.com/podcasts/