Top 5 Skills for Building a Strong Communication Foundation
Growing up I was trained in classical ballet. The level of gratitude I have for this experience is insurmountable. Reason being, this experience trained me in so much more than just ballet.
Anyone who has trained in an art or a sport will relate to this. If you want to become the best at what you do, you learn that it requires intense practice. The more you do something, the better you become. Seems like common sense, right? Well in our present world of instant notifications and instant gratification, this concept can feel a bit more challenging to execute on than ever before.
I spent years training in ballet, and I got to witness myself improve year after year. However, I remember a moment of shock when I was in college. I wasn’t a dance major, instead I was majoring in communication, but I took ballet classes as part of my extracurricular classes.
One semester, the advanced ballet class did not fit in with my communication schedule, so I took a beginner/intermediate level instead. This particular semester I was forced to go back to basics.
I found myself class after class, doing the basics of ballet over and over, and you know what happened? My performance skyrocketed in my advanced work! It felt like a slingshot effect.
By going back and focusing so much on the basics, it had a huge impact on my advanced work, and became a major lesson in my life and work…
When you want to perform at an advanced level, never forget to continue to give attention to the basics, because the basics are the foundation in which everything stands on. The stronger your foundation, the stronger your advanced performance level.
I have found this to not only be true in ballet, but also in communication. (And, most things in life.)
In this day and age, effective communication is a challenge. We have so many distractions, that we are not given the opportunity to truly learn, practice, and develop some of the key aspects of a strong communication foundation. This requires us to be much more intentional with building and practicing our communication foundation.
Going back to communication basics…
Being in the tech video communication space now, I have conversations constantly on how to communicate effectively with video. I have found a huge difference in business conversion success between the users who operate from a strong communication foundation and those that do not.
So here are some communication skills and techniques to continue to come back to in order to secure an effective and strong communication foundation for growing your business:
1. Listen First, Then Respond
Listening first, then responding creates an atmosphere of open communication. It can feel very natural to immediately want to communicate with someone, however to be the most effective in our response, we must first take a moment to really listen to what is actually being communicated to us. There is a difference between “Responding” and “Reacting. ” When we react, we are quick to say/do whatever is our first instinct. This can very easily lead to miscommunication. To remedy this, it is best to be conscious of really listening to the person first, and pay attention not only to what they are verbally saying, but also what they are non-verbally saying. Which leads to the next skill…
2. Practice Non Verbal Communication Awareness
You may have heard the saying, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” This is a great description of the power of non-verbal communication.
The main non-verbal communication areas to stay aware of for a strong communication foundation are:
- Body Language- For example: Posture, Eye Contact, Hand Movements
- And Voice Tone- For example a voice tone we might want to strive for is: Confident, Friendly, Professional, and Welcoming
Bonus Awareness: When it comes to video communication, be sure to be intentional with your video background. This is another area of non-verbal communication that most people forget to take note of. The backgrounds in our videos send a non-verbal message to our viewers, so it is very advantageous to be intentional about what that non-verbal cue is communicating.
3. Choose the Most Appropriate Communication Medium
- Phone Call? In Person? Text? Email? Social Messaging? Direct Messaging? Video Conferencing?
Different situations call for different communication mediums. As technology advances, so do our choices of communication mediums. Therefore, it is important to reflect upon the most effective option for the moment at hand. Odds are it will continue to shift and change, depending on what needs to be communicated. A strong communication foundation takes note of what medium will be best for the communication receiver to receive the message in a way that is best for them.
4. Don’t Assume, Instead Clarify
You know what they say when we assume, right? It makes an ass-(out of)-u-(and)-me. The practice of clarifying alone has the potential to clear up most misunderstandings in the world. However, it is a practice. One that is easier said then done. It’s always worth it to take the time to clarify a message with someone. Make this a conscious part of your communication foundation, and it will help lead you to the most effective and efficient communication.
5. Stay Concise and Succinct
In business in particular, if you want to keep forward movement with your communication, focus on one point at a time with a clear call-to-action. We live in a day and age where attention spans are short and are only growing shorter. Therefore, avoid using 10 words, when 5 will get the job done.
When we consistently come back to practicing these basics of communication, we will see how much more effective and efficient our communication will become. A strong communication foundation makes a huge impact on the success of our businesses. Communication is the foundation of healthy and strong relationships. And, what builds sustainable business for the long term? You guessed it - Healthy and Strong Relationships.
As technology advances, so do our communication practices. If we are to be successful with advanced communication, it will consistently be advantageous to tend to our communication foundation.
Wishing you successful communication always! Especially success in my personal favorite…video communication!
Jennifer Santoro is a co-founder of Vaetas, a technology company that offers the product, Vaetas Video Connect: A Tool for Client Relationship Building. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and her master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC). She received her certificate in project management, as well as became a certified professional life and business coach.
To learn more about the technology her company, Vaetas, offers and how it can help you communicate more effectively for your business, visit VAETAS.com.
To support you in transitioning into the Age of Video, Vaetas officially launched aVideo Communication Master Class that is included in all Vaetas Connect memberships.