Being a good communicator can help you excel in your life, career and relationships. Communication is an integral part of any work or life situation. Learning to be an effective communicator is a valuable productivity tool, one that is unfortunately commonly overlooked. So many of life’s outcomes, achievements in particular, depend on clear, confident communication. Communicating well is a skill. The tips below can help you sharpen it.

• 5 reasons you’re failing to communicate: failure to listen, failure to respect, failure to articulate, failure to express honestly and failure to compromise.

• Shortened attention spans and distrust of authority have put a strain on communication. If you want your message to be heard, you need to rise above the competition. And with mobile devices making it even tougher to get people’s attention, it takes a strong voice to raise above the noise. Online content has become part of what’s known as the attention economy, with increasing focus on mobile devices, to the point where messages from other people are pushed aside. So, if you want to gain attention and be heard, you need to combine inspiring content with authenticity.

• Use the Communications Road Map to pinpoint your style and be as inspiring as possible. There’s more than one way to communicate, and if you want to deliver your message in the best way possible, it pays to understand the different styles. The Deckers have created a Communications Road Map of four communication styles: the first is informing, the second is directing, the third is entertaining and the fourth is inspiring.

• Connect with your audience using visuals. Storytelling can take on many forms. A blog post, a social media announcement, a website, an email blast, a presentation or a book. Whether your purpose is to inform, educate or entertain, adding visual content is core to how you can connect with your audience. People respond more to what they see than any other form of stimulation.

• The way you use your voice is imperative to effective communication. Your voice can reveal as much about your personal history as your appearance. The sound of a voice and the content of speech can provide clues to an individual’s emotional state. Voice is the most critical component of any communication system because it creates a personal connection between people.

• Storytelling is crucial to effective communication. Whether you’re pitching to a client or presenting at a board meeting, you have to engage your audience or else risk a costly ‘failure to communicate’. The most effective way to engage your audience is with storytelling: human beings are wired for them. Our brains often don’t distinguish between fiction and reality; therefore, we immerse ourselves in stories as if we were a part of them.

• Gear your content to your listener’s knowledge, experience and interests. Use analogies to relate the unknown with the known. Use concrete, specific examples to illustrate points. Tell stories. Build audience involvement by making your subject immediate, personal, and local. References and quotes is another way to get an audience engages with what you’re trying to say. Pictures and visuals are the ideal tool for adding some pizzazz to your content.

• A growth mindset helps communication. A Growth Mindset is rooted in the belief that intelligence and talent can be developed through hard work, dedication, and feedback from others. If you have a growth mindset, you embrace challenges, welcome feedback as a constructive opportunity to improve and learn and get curious about understanding criticism. With a growth mindset, you’ll be able to harness new skills to make immediate changes and improvements to your communication style.

Final thoughts…
Effective communicators are likely central to a business’s operations. Building your communication skills is a step forward in having a successful professional career. This is a skill you will continuously develop throughout your professional and personal life, as it is an evolving skill.