John F. Kennedy. Martin Luther King, Jr. Winston Churchill. What do these three men have in common? They’re all figures associated with change, with bringing people together in the face of adversity, and they accomplished it in large part thanks to their communication skills. When they spoke, audiences listened. They practically moved mountains with their words. How can you use communication to achieve a similar effect?
Break Down Barriers
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Communicating isn’t just about talking. It’s also about listening and hearing the other party. Without both avenues, communication hasn’t been accomplished. This is especially true when you encounter a language barrier. You can have someone translate another person’s words or thoughts and have them translate yours in return, but have you truly come to understand each other?
There is a buffer there that prevents you from completely connecting with someone from a different culture. If you can communicate with a person in their own language, you’re eliminating that buffer. You’re understanding each other, promoting empathy and connectivity.
Demonstrate Your Passion to Inspire Others
“Talk is cheap,” you hear some people say. But every great idea began with a word powerful enough to convince others to follow. By honing your communication skills, you can learn to infuse passion into speeches, prose, and even everyday conversations to inspire others. If you want an audience to care about a cause or goal, they need to know you care about it too. Find a careful balance of fiery language and a compelling, logical argument to build credibility while making your case.
Keep in mind that a passionate speech can be ineffective if it’s filled with empty rhetoric. Know your topic inside and out, and use strong, supporting details to demonstrate your expertise. If an audience feels confident that you know what you’re talking about, they’ll be excited to hear more.
Educate Others and Yourself
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We already touched on the dangers of rhetoric comprised of fluff and not much else, but it’s worth expanding on further. There are some key benefits of knowing your topic backwards and forwards, and they all have to do with education. By striving to dive deep into your subject, you learn much more than others who are merely covering the basics or doing the bare minimum. Even if you’re an expert on a subject, there’s always more to learn that you can then impart to an audience. Your firm understanding will ensure that your message is clear and credible.
In a general sense, most communication endeavors revolve around inciting change. From introducing a new idea to putting it into motion, you’ll need to deliver your message carefully and confidently if you want your audience on board. Whether it’s on a personal, business, or global level, many people have a hard time accepting and adjusting to change. However, your strategic and thoughtful approach to communicating change can turn a frightening transition into a hopeful new adventure.
A clear, effective communicator is not only great at giving presentations or hashing out business deals. Those things come with the territory, of course, but if you’ve set your sights on creating change on a local, national, or global scale, great communication skills will help get you there.