To be an effective communicator, you must adapt what you say and what you write to each context. This means that you will have to adjust your communication style according to the audience. At work, it means stepping out of your comfort zone to speak clearly, respectfully, and professionally. If you are faced with an emotionally charged situation, focus on giving value to the other person's feelings, rather than imposing your own opinion. If you want to communicate with a large group or will give a presentation, you can follow a clear structure, emphasize the main points, and strive to maintain the energy and attention of the audience.
Method 1 of 4: Adjust Your Communication Style
Step 1. Adjust the vocabulary according to the audience
It is important that you can use different formal and informal registers to speak. At work or in your professional life, you should appear polite, cultured, and refined. However, you can show your friends the casual side of your personality. By changing your vocabulary to suit the situation, you can create a better connection with others.
- Make sure to use words that the other person understands.
- For example, it may be okay to use street words and slang with your friends, but they could interfere with your career if you use them at work. Likewise, gimmicky words and professional vocabulary may make you seem smarter at work, but they may be unappealing and repulsive to your friends.
Step 2. Imitate the language and gestures of the person you are talking to
Mirroring her gestures may make her feel more comfortable. Also, this makes you more convincing. You can imitate their gestures, their posture, or their choice of words.
- Copy only some of their gestures and words. If you overdo it, you could come off as unpleasant.
- Don't imitate a person when it is inappropriate to do so. For example, if you are a man and you are talking to a woman who is carrying a bag, it is not recommended that you put your arm to the side as if you were also carrying a bag.
Step 3. Adapt the tone to the situation
The tone can reveal a lot about the situation. You can use a serious tone when discussing work matters, an encouraging tone while evaluating an employee, or an informal tone when you go out with your friends.
To adjust the tone, make sure you match the verbal and non-verbal communication; In this way, you will show sincerity. For example, a serious and firm tone would be weakened if you were hunched over and smiling. A serious tone best matches a stiff face and limited gestures, while a motivational tone would be emphasized by nodding and gesturing
Method 2 of 4: Treat Employees and Co-workers
Step 1. Schedule a few face-to-face meetings to discuss new or complicated topics
Set up an in-person meeting even if you feel like you could bring it up via email or newsletter. This way, people will be able to ask questions and clarify when necessary.
- For example, you might think you can either explain the new rules for employee breaks in an email or post them in the break room.
- However, by meeting in person with employees, you can ensure that everyone understands the rules and takes responsibility for following them.
Step 2. Address issues with subordinates in a one-on-one meeting
Avoid drawing attention to them in front of other employees, as this could lead to resentment. Emails could be misinterpreted, so it is also not recommended to approach problems in this way. Instead, you can schedule a meeting to speak privately.
- Make sure you speak in words that the person understands.
- You can start the meeting by saying something like "Francisco, I wanted to meet with you to talk about some issues that I have observed in your performance in recent days and how we can improve them." This will set a firm, yet forward-looking tone rather than coming across as overly critical.
- Then, make a written summary of the meeting and email it to everyone involved. In this way, communication will be even clearer.
Step 3. Use social media professionally
Avoid making personal complaints or revealing confidential information about employment matters on social media. In short, stay professional. If you tend to use social media only to connect with your friends, this may mean changing the tone and content of your posts.
- Messages on social media at work should be positive and concise. For example: “Hello, countrymen! Stop by the Sports Store today to receive a 20% discount on all teams!”.
- If you interact with your coworkers, employees or clients on social media, avoid personal attacks, disclosures, complaints and inappropriate images.
- Assume that everything you post on the Internet will be visible to the public.
- Many people prefer to have separate accounts on social networks: one for personal use and one for professional use.
Step 4. Review what you want to say, if you are not communicating in person
Reread an email or text message before sending it. If you have to talk to someone on the phone, write down a few things you want to say before you call. Communication that is not done in person may be difficult to interpret because you don't have context cues, such as tone and facial expressions. Make sure you speak clearly:
- If you want to send a written message at work, put the main point of the email in the subject line or, if it is a text message, put it at the beginning. The recipient will appreciate that you are direct and do not waste a lot of time.
- Use the subject line carefully. Avoid using obvious or confusing phrases like "Message about work." Instead, use specific titles like "Meeting with Juan Pérez on November 16!"
- If you are on the phone, use clear verbal cues like “Maria, the reason for my call is to talk about the reduction in sales numbers” or “Andrea, I want to make sure I understand. Could you repeat the argument?
Step 5. Set aside time to chat, if you are an introvert
Get out of your comfort zone to have a casual chat and make people feel comfortable and confident talking to you in any context. Even if you're an introvert and conversations don't come naturally to you, you can easily find some ways to have neutral conversations with others.
Talk about neutral and non-controversial topics. For example, you can talk about popular TV shows, food, an old saying, or the weather.
For example, you can say something like "Hey, what do you think of the last episode of Game of Thrones?"
- If you have a senior or administrative position, informal talks will allow employees to feel that they can relate to you and that you are approachable. In addition, they help establish a link to speak with a boss or manager, so it will be easier to deal with more serious or complex matters later.
Method 3 of 4: Handle Emotionally Charged Situations
Step 1. Use sentences in the first person and not in the second
Reframe what you want to say to focus on what you are feeling or thinking, and not on what the other person has done. This will prevent them from feeling attacked. For instance:
- In a work setting, you could say something like "I remember when I was a new hire and I learned this" instead of "You don't understand how it works."
- Also, you should avoid telling a friend "You get mad very quickly." Instead, you can say something like, "I think this matters a lot to you."
Step 2. Bond with the person who is upset
Even if a person makes you angry or when you are simply a mediator between two parties, do your best to find common ground in emotional situations. If a situation is emotionally charged, bonding will prevent those involved from feeling attacked. Also, this will prevent someone from getting defensive.
Emphasize companionship when expressing yourself. For example, use phrases like "we can do it" or "we're in this together."
Step 3. Show empathy to the other person, instead of criticizing them
Sometimes when a person is upset, they need to vent and just have someone listen to them. Show her that you take her concerns seriously and that you are willing to try to understand what is happening to her. This means that you will have to adapt the way you communicate to focus on reflecting what the other person is saying.
- Try saying things like "I definitely see why you're upset" or "You're right; that would piss anyone off. "
- Avoid saying things like "You shouldn't be mad about that" or "I don't understand why it bothers you," even if that's what you really feel.
Step 4. Get out of your comfort zone to show respect
To calm an emotional situation, you must recognize the value of the other person to prevent them from feeling helpless or invalidated. It expresses what it has done well or the rights and powers it has. For example, you could say the following:
- "You've worked a lot on this, haven't you?"
- "I think you have handled it with a lot of patience"
Method 4 of 4: Communicate with Large Groups
Step 1. Adjust the presentation according to the audience
It is important that you know the public to give the message the appropriate form for it. You need to know who will be in the audience, some of their background, and why they will attend your presentation. The more information you have, the better you can adjust the presentation.
- For example, if you are presenting to a group of executives who have a higher hierarchy in the company, you should use a professional and refined vocabulary, and avoid jokes or jargon. However, if you will be speaking to a lower-ranking group than yourself, you can include some jokes, jargon, and simple vocabulary to ease any tension that may be in the room.
- Be aware of the backgrounds of people in the audience to make sure you don't use offensive words or examples.
Step 2. Plan what you want to say
To communicate clearly with a large group, you need to plan what you will say, as opposed to when you have an informal conversation with someone. If you don't, you risk losing their attention. Plan the following:
- The main ideas that you want to highlight. For example, if you are introducing your new 3-point sales strategy, plan to raise your voice a bit when you first mention each point.
- Times where you should slow down (for example, to present new or complicated information).
- The natural moments of the presentation when you could pause, for example, after presenting each point of the sales strategy. In this way, you allow time to process the information.
Step 3. Make some key points of the presentation
Use a few key phrases to describe the main points. It may be difficult to sequence an oral presentation, but these “cues” will help your audience keep up. Some good phrases you can use are the following:
- "To continue …" (if you want to present a new idea).
- "As I said before …" (to remind the audience of the main idea).
- "To conclude …" (if you want to inform that you are about to finish).
- Let the attendees know when you will answer the questions. You could say, "Save your questions for last and I'll be sure to answer them."
Step 4. Use visual teaching aids to highlight the main points
Make a simple presentation with slides that you can use to emphasize the main points and not to explain them in detail. Otherwise, the audience will only see the slides and will not pay attention to what you say.
- Include little text or visual material on each slide. For example, if you want to describe the three goals of the company for the next year, make a slide that says “Goal 1: Increase membership by 10%”.
- This information is enough to remind your audience of what you want to highlight, but not enough to lose their attention.
Step 5. Interact with the audience
Include a few pauses in the presentation to ask questions and encourage attendees to ask them if they need clarification about the presentation. You can address people in the audience directly, either by name or by making eye contact. This will make your presentation more interesting, keep your audience's attention, and people will learn more from your presentation.