Communication Skills ScoreCard

 

Your communication skills are… average

(watch the video to find out why)

Want to chat directly with me about your communication skills?

 

Find a space in my calendar for a free Strategy Session
Take the Workshop

 

5 Communication SuperSkills that will change your career if you use them (and stall your career if you don’t)
Click a question to read the Answer Analysis
QUESTION 1: How good are you at what you do?

Success in your career will primarily depend on two things:

1) How good you are at what you do

2) How effective you are at communicating with other people

Before thinking about your communication skills, you first have to make sure that your reputation for competence is established. If people do not think that you are good at the job, no amount of great communication will help. In fact, you will quickly develop a reputation for being all talk.

Build up your skills and abilities to do the work. Study; get a mentor; do some training. Whatever it takes to turn yourself into an A-player at the work, get it done.

Your communication skills will enhance your ability, they can’t replace them.

QUESTION 2: You have the most important presentation of your career. How do you feel?

Public speaking is right up there with the greatest fears of human beings. 

Standing in front of an important audience can be daunting. What will they think about you? Do they already know more than you do? Are they going to ask questions that you don’t know the answer to?

But public speaking is also the single best opportunity you will ever have to build your personal brand and reputation. You are upfront with everyone focused on you, and you have free reign to speak whilst everyone listens. What better way to show your ability.

Great leaders understand the power of public speaking. You must too. And the first step is to understand how you react when given the opportunity to speak.

When you have a speech to give, you will feel nervous. Accept that. The question is how you respond to those nerves. On one extreme you will be scared. At the other extreme, you can be excited. 

The key is to have a message to share that makes you excited to share it. Here is an article that will help with how to approach your next speech or presentation

 

QUESTION 3: Will I be found out?

In 1978 Psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes identified the concept of imposter syndrome – the feeling that you do not really deserve your success and achievements; that at some point they will discover that you are a fraud.

Imposter syndrome often leads to under-achievement against your potential. My clients will often say to me that they give up opportunities to give important presentations for fear that it will go wrong and that they will be ‘found out’.

Many will say that they have confidence in some situations, but lack the confidence in others.

Great Communicators understand that they must develop innate belief in themselves so that they communicate with confidence no matter their environment, and no matter who they are with.

Listen to this podcast episode on ‘how to overcome imposter syndrome’

QUESTION 4: How often do you use storytelling to communicate your message?

There is no more powerful method of communication than storytelling.

It is the single most effective method to achieve a direct connection with your communication.

Neuroscientific research has shown that when a listener hears the story from a speaker, their brain wave patterns match. They are mentally transported into the same place. And Stanford University research also showed that stories are 22 times more likely to be remembered than facts alone.

Stories work by targeting the emotional, rather than the rational (neocortex) so that people feel like they want to agree with you, and then they find the reasons to justify and support that feeling.

Read more on storytelling here

QUESTION 5: In a meeting, the most important thing for me is to...

STAR ANSWER: Speak last after I have heard all other opinions

Leaders should lead by example.

But if you don’t listen, people want feel heard, and you will look back and see that no one is following your lead.

  • The temptation to speak first is understandable. Sometimes it feels like you have to push forward to make sure your voice is heard. But you also lose out on the opportunity to learn what you don’t know and then factor that in when you finally speak.
  • Asking great questions is the hallmark of a leadership mentality. When you are not sure what to say, be the one that asks the best questions.
  • When you speak last, you signal to everybody else that you value their opinion and are willing to listen. You also have the great advantage of having heard what others think. As human beings we have a recency bias, which means people will remember the last thing they heard far better than anything else.

Develop the willingness to speak last.

QUESTION 6: Which element of communication matters the most?

STAR ANSWER: How you listen

Think about communicating not just with your words, but with every part of yourself.

Your aim is to achieve a connection with the other person/people so that they buy into what you say.

However, there are some things that will help you connect better than others:

  • Eye contact – one of the strongest connections you can make comes from eye contact. Be sure to use it meaningfully
  • How you listen: communication is not only about what you say. The most effective way to achieve a connection is to make other people feel heard, respected and valued. Work on becoming a deep empathetic listener
  • What you say – this matters hugely. Don’t fall for the myth that says that your words are only 7% of communication
  • Body language has a big impact on how convinced people are by what you say. Good body language can enhance the sense of trust they have in you. 
  • Tone of voice – if your tone does not match your message, it can completely undermine what you are saying

 

As you develop as a communicator, keep working on all aspects of your communication

QUESTION 7: How charismatic do other people think you are?

Notice that the wording of the conversation is about how charismatic other people think you are.

You may think you have no charisma at all (or you may think you are the most charismatic person in the world), but communication is less about what you say and do, and more about the impact this has on others.

Ask yourself, do I make other people feel special? If you do, chances are you will be seen as highly charismatic (here is a podcast episode on the 5 Habits of Highly Charismatic People)

QUESTION 8: What matters most to you as a leader?

STAR ANSWER: You are always asked by others for advice.

One of the most important duties of a leader is to create and empower other people. Are you creating an army of lieutenants that are helping to grow into leaders in their own right. If you are, you will find that people are often coming to you for advice.

The weakest leaders are those that think it is all about them. They want the credit for everything; they want all teams to revolve around them; and some are even secretly happy when things fall apart if they are not there.

Click to read about ‘the Four Fundamental Failures of Leaders that Fail’

QUESTION 9: What do you focus on when pitching to investors?

STAR ANSWER: Getting them to experience the product for themselves.

When pitching to investors, they will definitely want to know your facts and figures, and get a good sense of your vision. But it is not until they feel personally connected to the pitch that you will get them to buy into what you are proposing. If you can get them to physically interact with your product in some way, they will get a visceral intimate experience that will do half your job for you.

 

QUESTION 10: What are your relationships like with the people you work with?

STAR ANSWER: We sometimes have conflict, but we always work through it

Building strong connections with your colleagues is crucial if you want to advance in your career. Of course, it is important to be good at the job, but in truth, the strength of your relationships and your networks will have an outsized impact on your career progression.

Small talk can be difficult or sometimes even irritating, but maintaining a connection with your colleagues that is bigger than the work you are doing helps to develop relationships.

Of course, it’s great to get on all the time, but research suggests that the strongest relationships and connections are formed not in the absence of conflict, but by overcoming that conflict. Great communicators understand this and do the work to create  bonds that can last beyond conflict.

 

QUESTION 11: My approach to negotiating

STAR ANSWER: Build a rapport with my opponent

Never ask someone you are negotiating with why they want what they want. Everyone has their own internal logic that makes perfect sense from their point of view. If you ask them to explain or justify their position, they will do so, and become even more entrenched in their position.

Instead, focus on building a rapport with your opponent, so they shift from fighting for what they want, to fighting to reach an agreement. It is in this space that compromise is possible and if you are really good, you will be able to show them that what you want is what they should want too.

Taking a tough stance is important of course, but it is actually not an essential part of negotiating. If you can get what you want without the conflict, all the better.

QUESTION 12: After my speech, people tend to...

STAR ANSWER: People ask me questions related to the topic of my speech

it feels great when everyone comes up to you afterwards to tell you how great you were. That’s the power of a great speech.

But your aim when you speak should be to move people to action, and make them think or change their beliefs. Your message and it’s impact is key. And it is when people come up to ask about what you said (rather than who you are), that you know that you are communicating in a highly effective way.

QUESTION 13: When it comes to persuading other people, what I rely on most is...

STAR ANSWER: The force of my personality (authority, charisma, gravitas)

The Ancient Greeks considered that great communication depended on 3 different element

  • Logos – your ability to use logic and rationality to build your arguments
  • Pathos – your use of emotions to influence others
  • Ethos – your credibility and authority on the subject

As important as logic and emotion are to persuasion, it is actually your credulity and authority that has the greatest impact on your ability to persuade others. We listen most intently and buy into the arguments of those that we respect the most.

 

  • it feels great when everyone comes up to you afterwards to tell you how great you were. That’s the power of a great speech.

But your aim when you speak should be to move people to action, and make them think or change their beliefs. Your message and it’s impact is key. And it is when people come up to ask about what you said (rather than who you are), that you know that you are communicating in a highly effective way.

QUESTION 14: When a great role comes up, I am most likely to…

STAR ANSWER: Go for it if I believe I can do it, no matter my experience 

Great communicators develop a strong sense of authority and confidence that carries them through even in the midst of doubt.

This isn’t about misplaced arrogance – you should always strive to be realistic and humble or you will alienate others.  

Instead, your aim should be to communicate belief if yourself. People are more likely to believe in you if they see that you have it in yourself. So, if a role that you genuinely and realistically believe you can should come up, go for it confidently. Emphasise that your skill and talent  means that you will learn even if you currently have limited experience of that kind of work.

‘if you wait to be asked, or put others before yourself for roles that you believe you can do, chances are others will assume that you did not have the ability in the first place.

 

QUESTION 15: The one thing I would want people to think about me when I communicate,

STAR ANSWER: Any answer

As you grow as a communicator, you will pay more and more attention to your personal brand.

What do people think about when they think about you?

Choose the brand you want and then spend every day of your life living up to that reputation. Whenever you find yourself unsure or wondering how to approach your communication in any particular moment, just ask yourself: “how would I communicate if I was XXX” .e.g how would I communicate if I was inspirational?”. Then do that!

This question will always help you work out what to do as a communicator.

p.s. if you chose ‘authentic’ you will enjoy this podcast episode on ‘how to be more authentic

Pin It on Pinterest

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close