Every day we fire off texts, tweets, status updates and emails with ease – and often without much thought. However, effective communication is more than just exchanging information.
Good communication is one of the most valuable skills for establishing and maintaining relationships. It involves both verbal and written skills. Although equally important, most often, your first communication with someone will be verbal. This could be in the form of an initial phone call, a random meeting or networking at an event.
With Family Reunion just around the corner, many agents will be exercising their networking skills. Below are important points to consider as you make new connections.
Verbal: When speaking to others, articulate your message in a way the listener can understand. Be mindful of your tone and word choice.
Do This Now: Write out your 30-second elevator pitch about yourself and practice it before any networking event. You have 30 seconds to capture interest in you, share why someone should want to keep in touch after the event and establish some commonality that connects you to another person.
Body Language: Be aware of your own body language when speaking, you’re constantly communicating even when you’re not saying a word. Hand gestures, eye contact, posture, facial expressions and other body language give clues to the speaker you may not be aware of.
For example, a listener who fidgets or does not make eye contact can send the impression that they are bored or not interested.
Do This Now: Look at yourself in a full-length mirror and correct your posture. Take note of what it feels like. When you are having a conversation with someone, correct your posture to feel the way it did when you looked your best in the mirror.
Listening: Try not to think about what to say next while listening; instead clear your mind and focus on the message being received. Give the speaker your full attention as you expect in return.
Do This Now: Have conversations daily with other people. Practice your scripts and 30-second pitch with people in the office. Ask them to practice theirs and take time to really listen. This activity makes you more comfortable and on your way to becoming a networking pro.
In summary, if you can articulate your message, present active listening body language and be present with others when they are talking, you will have more engaging and memorable conversations.