How To Communicate Effectively
How To Communicate Effectively
An expert in the field of public speaking explains the skills required to be an effective communicator. Surprisingly, the gift of gab is not at the top of the list.
Hello. My name is Michael Ronayne. I'm a director of the College of Public Speaking, and I'm going to be talking about different aspects of public speaking.
To learn to communicate effectively, you need three skills. You need to be able to listen; you need to be able to ask questions; and only then do you need to be able to speak. You see there's often a misconception, particularly about salespeople.
When people say, "describe a typical good salesperson," you have phrases like, "gift of the gab," "sell coals to Newcastle," all sorts of stuff like that. And the implication is that they're fast-talking people. Interestingly enough, top salespeople, a lot of them are actually profoundly introverted, very shy, very quiet people.
And the reason they are successful, and the reason they are the top people in their field is because they're very, very good at listening to people. Because if you think about it, how can I sell you something if I don't know what you want? And the only way I'm going to find out what you want, or how you think, is by listening to you, and the best way I can listen to you is to keep you speaking. And the only way to keep you speaking? Ask questions.
So I take an interest in you. I find out what motivates you. I find out what makes you tick, what makes you think, and only then will I start speaking to you.
Now, that's a rule of gold I would say, within the sales profession. Usually, most salespeople, their biggest problem is, they talk too much. I remember "Writers Speak," Allan Pease saying once, "The problem with most salespeople is they talk people into a sale and then they talk them straight back out of it again.
They talk too much. They don't listen enough." So one of the key things you need to be able to do is listen.
As a speaker in front of an audience, I've seen a number of successful speakers that often, if there's a function, or a meal, or something like that, before they get up to speak, they'll walk around the room. They'll meet a few people, or get an idea of what the audience is like. They'll then learn what sort of language, what sort of phrases, what sort of words, what sort of events would interest this particular audience.
You see, if I'm communicating to a five-year-old child, and I want to throw a ball to him, I'm going to go nice and close, and take the big ball, and I'm just going to throw it into his arms, because I want him to be able to catch it. If I'm working with a cricketer, I can throw a ball any way I like. He'll catch it easily.
But if I throw a ball hard at a five-year-old, I'll probably hit them in the head. If I lob a ball gently at a cricketer, he'll think, "What's your problem? I understand all that. I can catch balls straight away.
" So until I've listened, until I know what this person is and what they're interested in, there's no point in starting to speak. .