When meeting someone, going for an interview or just having a conversation, the following steps will help improve your communication and lead to a better understand between everyone involved.
Opening/Starting: A smile is a great way to open a conversation. If you are meeting someone for the first time, introduce yourself with a hand-shake and remember to make eye-contact. Get tips from:
- Verbal Communication Skills at skillsyouneed.com
- You’re Hired, Now What, Lynda Goldman, Oxford University Press
Listening: Use active listening techniques. Remember to keep an open mind and don’t be judgemental
Clarifying/Asking Questions: Try to use open-ended questions. Open questions allow the other person to engage in a discussion, while closed questions only require a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer. When asking questions, remember that some topics are considered appropriate and others are not. Appropriate topics include the weather and sports. David Giard gives a good list of topics to avoid in the workplace.
Answering questions: When answering questions, it is important to get to the point. Directly answer the question then provide some examples to clarify the explanation. Keep your answers simple and remember to make eye contact.
Feedback: When giving feedback, use the sandwich approach. Start by stating what was done well then move on to the areas that need to be improved and end with a positive comment. The intent should be to help the other person by reinforcing what was done well and to bringing any areas that need improvement to their attention. Keep it simple and avoid ambiguities. Consider using the following expressions:
- “I’m impressed with the way you…”
- “I really liked how you…”
- “The one area that you might want to improve upon in your next presentation is…”
- “To have a greater impact on your audience, you might want to…”
Closing: Don’t abruptly end a conversation. There are ways to indicate that you would like to end the conversation e.g. “I really enjoyed talking to you…”, “It was great talking to you…”, “On that note, I have to say goodbye…”