Effective Communications Month: Eight Tips for Being a Stellar Communicator
June may be designated as Effective Communications Month, but at INK, it is a skill we try to perfect year round. There’s no question about it: effective communication is invaluable not only in the public relations industry, but also in every aspect of your personal and professional life.
Communication is at the core of what builds and solidifies relationships and productive work environments. One of the most effective communication tools we utilize at INK is Slack, a group chat tool that allows us to communicate from wherever, whenever. Many INKers work from home one day a week, and Slack is a great way of keeping communication constant and seamless. It’s also a fun way to chat with one another in the office throughout the day (we have some self-proclaimed comedians at INK, so it can be distracting at times!).
My No. 1 tip for being an effective communicator is to be consistent and persistent. In a time when email inboxes are constantly flooded, it’s important to always follow up. Trust me, it leaves a lasting impression that you care and that you take initiative.
As an aspiring PR professional studying at LSU, my college experience has revolved around refining my communication skills. One of my biggest takeaways so far was learning how a well-written follow-up email to a professor or potential mentor could make a significant impact on obtaining new opportunities. There have been multiple internship and professional networking opportunities (including INK) that I have secured through consistent communication.
I asked a few INKers around the office for their No. 1 tip on being effective communicators, and their insight was very helpful.
Listen to understand, not to reply.
I’ve recently gotten very interested in podcasts – listening to other people communicate an idea, tell a story, or discuss news and entertainment, is a fascinating way to improve your own communication skills. I think Stephen King is famously quoted at saying the only way to improve your writing is to read a lot and write a lot. It’s the same with communication; the only way to improve it is to experience others communicating and really work on communicating.
My answer: Read- Books, news, people.
Say what you mean and mean what you say. Don’t be afraid to bring up your concerns and don’t be defensive when concerns are brought up to you.
Listen to your audience. Your communication is most effective when it’s something they
want to hear.
Being an effective communicator means putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. When writing an email ask yourself, “What questions might they have and how can I answer them?” This type of thinking reduces the number of emails and gives clients or colleagues a clear picture of what your vision is.
Keep your “ask” concise and straightforward. Don’t bury what you’re asking for in an email. People will appreciate your honesty and you’re more likely to get a fast answer.
Effective communication involves more than listening: it involves understanding the message and adapting the answer to your audience. Whether you’re communicating at home or in the office, these tips for becoming an effective communicator can take you places. If you have any tips, be sure to send them my way on Twitter @heymadisontyler.