Communication and Influencing Skills DigiB…

COMMUNICATION and INFLUENCING SKILLS DIGIBOOK NOVEMBER 2017 | VERSION 34

TABLE OF CONTENT COMMUNICATION ......................................................................................................... 3 PROCESS OF COMMUNICATION.............................................................................. 3 TYPES OF COMMUNICATION ................................................................................... 6 ASSERTIVE COMMUNICATION .............................................................................. 11 RESULT ORIENTED COMMUNICATION ............................................................... 13 PRECISION IN COMMUNICATION......................................................................... 14 CONVINCING DIFFICULT PEOPLE......................................................................... 14 ACTIVE LISTENING ................................................................................................... 16 PRESENTATION SKILLS................................................................................................ 16 PREPARING FOR THE PRESENTATION................................................................. 17 MAKING THE PRESENTATION ............................................................................... 17 MANAGING STRESS DURING PRESENTATIONS................................................. 18 TECHNICAL TOOLS FOR PRESENTATION ........................................................... 18 PRESENTATION SKILLS PRACTISE TIPS................................................................ 19 INTERPRETATIONS OF BODY LANGUAGE.......................................................... 19 INFLUENCING SKILLS .................................................................................................. 20 INFLUENCING MODEL ............................................................................................. 21 COMMUNICATING FOR INFLUENCE.................................................................... 23 CONCLUSION................................................................................................................. 24

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COMMUNICATION

Communication forms the basis of human relations. Without communication they would cease to exist. We start communicating right from the time we are born. But effective communication is the ultimate goal. Communication as we know, is the process by which people exchange thoughts, ideas, feelings, opinions, plans, etc. but effective communication implies that there is a two way process.

In any organization, communication is given the highest level of importance. This is because every minute there is a huge amount of data and information which is processed and made available. But how do you get it across? How do you make it useful? Here is when effective communication gets highlighted. Effective communication is important not only to the organization as a whole but also to an individual. Many problems arise in organizations; most of them are due to bad communication or miscommunication. Many good plans or ideas are lost in the process due to lack of communicating effectively or faulty communication. So, effective communication would only happen when the receiver has understood the sender’s message. This brings us to the process of communication and the components of the process. Process of communication Communication is essentially a two - way process. There are five basic components involved and for the process to be effective it is essential that all of these components are present while communicating. The degree of their involvement may vary.

The way you communicate differs from person to person. It is something that is learnt majorly through observation. As a child you learn from your environment,

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which includes parents, teachers, other authority figures around you and other people who leave an impact on you. As you grow older you can unlearn or improve your communication style by observing others who communicate effectively, learning important skills and practising new skills.

Encoder

Message

Channel

Receiver

Feedback

The communication process can be broken into five phases: Phase I – Encoder

First, the encoder/sender i.e. the individual who initiates the process sends the information or the message. Encoding is the process of selecting and formulating the information to be conveyed. How well the information is conveyed will be based on:

 The sender’s attitude, knowledge, perceptions, etc  The mode of communication used (transmitter)

Phase II – Message The message is the information being transmitted. It includes verbal and non - verbal data. Verbal information is the part of the data that is heard and non - verbal consists of things such as body language and the surrounding environment. Phase III – Channel The channel is the means or the mode used to convey the message. To physically transmit the message you need to select a communication channel and a medium. A communication channel could be non - verbal, spoken or written. The mediums could be telephone, computer, fax, letter, email, memo, report, face – to – face, etc. Sometimes oral communication is preferred or desirable than written

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communication; at other times a written message is crucial. For example, when immediate feedback is necessary, oral communication channels are more effective. In many cases both oral and written channels are necessary; one supplements the other. For example, it is common to find managers giving their subordinates assignments over phone and then saying “I’ll follow this up with a mail confirming our conversation.” This provides the receiver an opportunity to review the assignment, to contact the superior and seek clarification if the written message is not in accordance with the oral one. Phase IV – Receiver The receiver is simply the person receiving the message, making sense of it, or understanding and translating it into meaning. The receiver decodes the encoded message. The extent to which this person will understand the message depends on a number of factors:  The knowledge about the topic  His/her receptivity to the message  The relationship and trust that exists between the sender and the receiver  The receiver’s understanding and perception of the information being conveyed

In a way the receiver is also a communicator. Communication is only successful when the reaction of the receiver is that which the communicator intended. Effective communication takes place with shared meaning and understanding.

Phase V – Feedback Feedback is the receiver’s response to the message. It can be a verbal or non - verbal reaction or response. It can be external feedback or internal feedback, like self -

examination. It’s the feedback that allows the communicator to adjust his message and be more effective. Without feedback, there would be no

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way of knowing if meaning has been understood by the receiver. Feedback also reveals attitude, perception, and comprehension or the lack of it. In non - verbal form some of the most common examples of feedback are nodding one’s head, shrugging, grimacing, smiling, winking, rolling one’s eyes, looking at the other person directly in the eye, etc.

Types of communication Verbal communication

Verbal communication implies communicating with the use of words. Words alone have no meaning but people using them to communicate add meaning to it. Verbal communication is of two types - Formal and informal.  Formal communication - Formal communication is further divided into downward and upward communication.

 Downward communication - Downward communication flows from superior to subordinate. There are five basic purposes of this type of communication: 1. To give job instructions 2. To bring about understanding of the work and its relationship to the organizational tasks

3. To provide information about procedures and practices 4. To provide subordinates, feedback on their performance 5. To instil a sense of mission in the employees

 Upward communication - Upward communication provide subordinates a means for conveying information to their superiors. This type of communication is extremely effective for gaining feedback, learning about problems and road blocks that are affecting efficiency. Upward communication is also an excellent source of information on employee attitudes and perception. Unfortunately, results reveal that most managers report that they

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encourage upward communication but subordinates disagree. They feel their superiors are not as open and willing to receive feedback as they claim to be.

 Informal

communication Informal communication is further divided into lateral, diagonal and grapevine. These are formed by employees in an effort to circumvent or complement formal channels.  Lateral communication - Lateral communication normally involves co- ordinating information, and allows people with the same or similar rank in an organization to cooperate or collaborate. Communication among employees at the same level is crucial for the accomplishment of work. Lateral communication is essential for five reasons: 1. Solving problems -

2. Accomplishing tasks 3. Improving teamwork 4. Building goodwill 5. Boosting efficiency

 Diagonal – It includes the communication of people at different levels and it is interdepartmental. This type can mostly be noticed when there are project teams working.

 Grapevine - To hear something through the grapevine is to learn of something informally and unofficially by means of gossip and rumour. This could mean information of a confidential nature passed on among employees informally or information which has been overheard or got through informal sources. A study quoted in Forbes magazine concludes that 75 % of employees hear about matters first through rumours on the grapevine.

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Robbins states, that rumours flourish in an organization because of three elements. 1. It is not controlled by formal management 2. Most employees perceive it to be more believable and reliable than formal communication issued by top management 3. It is largely used for the self - interests of the people within the organization Non - verbal messages primarily communicate emotions and attitudes. They largely communicate a person’s subjective response like anger, dislike and resentment to a particular situation. Messages about plans or concepts cannot be conveyed through non - verbal channels. These are more of spontaneous responses of the sender to the encoders’ message.  Physical environment - Environmental conditions can affect the choices of words or actions.  Proxemics – It is the study of how people use the physical space around them and what this use says about them. People often put an invisible boundary between themselves and others. This is called the personal space. The intimate distance zone within radius of up to 18 inches around a person is reserved for close relations and friends. The personal distance zone, which may extend from 1 ½ to 4 feet is also reserved for friends and family. This may vary from culture to culture. Certain cultures are more tolerant of intrusions into a person’s personal space than others. The social distance zone extends from 4 to 12 feet. It is in this zone that most business is transacted. The public distance zone usually extends from 12 to 25 feet. It is the farthest distance at which one can communicate effectively on a face to face basis. Thus, by observing the physical distance between two individuals, one can judge the relationship between them. Non-verbal communication

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 Chronemics - It is the study of the use of time in non - verbal communication. How people use time also gives others clues about what kind of people and what can be expected from them in terms of dependability.

 Paralanguage - The study of paralanguage focuses on how you say what you say. Two similar verbal messages may communicate entirely different meanings when the tone of voice is different. Our tone, loudness, softness, intonation, pitch, rate of speech, and accent communicate a great deal. In fact, by changing the emphasis of these parameters in a sentence, we can change the total meaning of the sentence.

Paralanguage has several component parts: Voice qualities, voice qualifiers, voice characteristics and vocal segregates.  Voice qualities – Voice qualities includes volume, rate of speech, pitch, tone, rhythm, pronunciation and enunciation.

 Voice qualifiers – Temporary variation in pitch, volume and rate of speech are known as voice qualifiers. If one is aware of the normal voice qualities of a person, it is easy to detect the voice qualifier in his speech. For example, someone who normally talks in a low, even tone, suddenly starts talking faster and louder it’s easy to detect that something is not quite right. The person may be conveying impatience, anger or excitement.

 Voice characteristics – Audible sounds like sighing, laughing, crying, clearing the throat, whistling, etc. communicate some meaning. These are called vocal characteristics.

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 Vocal segregates – Fillers, words or sounds used to punctuate or pace sentences are called vocal segregates. Example – Fillers like ‘right?’, ‘you know what I mean’, ‘ok’, ‘so’.

 Movement and body position  Kinesics – Developed by anthropologist, Ray L. Birdwhistell, it is the study of body movements, facial expressions and gestures. Kinesics includes mutual gaze, smiles, facial expressions, direct body orientation, etc.

 Posture – The way people stand or sit reveals a lot about their personality and attitudes. Posture portrays confidence, anxiety, apprehension, hostility and several other emotions.

 Gestures - Gestures are your hand movements. They are of various types. Three common ones are emblems, regulators and illustrators. Emblems are gestures that have a meaning that is understood by the public at large. Most of these are culture specific. Regulators are gestures that control the communication exchange. Example patting on someone’s back (this may encourage the person to keep talking). Illustrators are gestures which go with what is being said. Example ‘come and sit here’ will go with a nod of the head or a wave of the hand.  Haptics - Is the study of touch as a part of non - verbal communication. Touches that form a part of communication are handshakes, back slapping, high fives and a pat on the back. Such behaviours are called as ‘adaptor’; they disclose the intentions or feelings of a communicator. The meaning conveyed from touch is highly dependent upon the context of the situation, the relationship between communicators and the manner of touch.

 Eye gaze – ‘Oculesics’ is the study of the role of eyes in non - verbal communication. Eye contact indicates interest, awareness and participation.

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Gaze includes looking while one is talking or listening, frequency of glances, amount of gaze, and blinking of the eyes.

Assertive communication Assertiveness is often defined as the ability to say ‘no’, but it’s much more than that. The Oxford dictionary defines assertiveness as, ‘stating an opinion, claiming a right or establishing authority’. To get the work done without being offending to others requires one to be assertive. Being assertive is different from being aggressive. Being assertive means, putting forth your point and while doing so maintaining an empathetic approach.

How to be more assertive at work  Know your style – Before you start being assertive you have to understand your style of communication. Once you are aware you would understand where the changes need to be made.  Know your worth – Understand that what you have at hand is as important as someone else’s work. Once you prioritize you would be in a stronger position to put your foot down.  Use winning attitude – Your attitude is extremely important. The attitude you carry influences the actions of others around you.  Positive affirmations – Positively affirm to yourself that you have the power and right to say “No”.  Creative visualization – Visualize that you are saying “No” to people and they are accepting.  Resolve inner conflicts - You need to respect your feelings as much as you respect someone else’s. You do not have to feel guilty about standing up for yourself.  It is all right to say no.

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Different types of communicators

OWL “I’m OK, you are OK”

SHARK “I’m OK, you are not OK”

The wisest way of dealing with people is to adopt the behaviour of the owl. Owls deal with conflicts by collaborating. They are direct and state their point of view while being empathetic.

While communicating, the shark cares nothing about relationships but will do anything to win. Their purpose is to satisfy their own needs by any possible means. Their behaviour is aggressive and they may use verbal attacks or manipulation.

While communicating, foxes try to find a compromise. They are willing to sacrifice some of their opinions while convincing others to give up theirs.

TEDDY BEAR “I’m not OK, you are OK”

TURTLE

“I’m not OK, you are not OK” Turtles do not involve themselves in conversations directly, they try to avoid them. If they can physically leave the situation, they will. However, if they can't leave, they will try and avoid it or refuse to talk about it. When confronted, turtles will abandon their own goals and relationships and display passive behaviour, without getting the problems resolved.

Teddy bear wants to be liked, pampered and maintain relationships. Hence, they let the other person have their way. They tend to feel that others’ point of view is much important than theirs.

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Result oriented communication The success of any manager depends on his effectiveness when he communicates. The communication should be genuine and sincere. He should be empathetic to the opposite person. Any effectively delivered and understood message must be:  Structured mentally by the initiator  Prepared and sent so that it communicates specific and precise meaning  Heard by the listener  Understood and acted upon by the receiver

In this process a number of things could go wrong. The sender may not communicate what is intended and the receiver may filter the conversation.

Few steps in result oriented communication are as follows:  Take ownership

Communication breakdowns often occur and the recipient do not interpret the message the way it was intended. A common response is to blame the recipient. To be a result based communicator, you should care more about the execution of effective communication than blaming ineffective communication. You must ensure the receiver interprets your message correctly. This is not easy because, you have no control over their brain.

 Set your intentions You must become more intentional about planning your important messages and must be able to prioritize the content of the message.

 Interact with people openly and directly Direct and open communication with others fosters trust, enhances the flow of information and builds stronger relationships. Let people know about information that affects them well in time; respond promptly to questions and concerns. Give positive and constructive feedback.

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 Provide others with access to information People need up to date information about what is happening in their area of responsibility and in the organization in general in order to manage their own work effectively. Encourage them to recognize the help they need to complete tasks by giving them the access to appropriate information, to other people in the organization and to outside resources.  Receive feedback on communication effectiveness Feedback is essential in communication for knowing whether the recipient has understood the message in the same terms as intended by you whether he agrees to that message or not. The person receiving the feedback needs an opportunity to reflect and respond to what is being shared. Precision in communication Expressing yourself fully involves choosing your words precisely. While you communicate you should leave no scope for vagueness or ambiguity. When we do not communicate precisely, our thoughts and what we actually communicate are poles apart. This could cause confusion in the other person’s mind. This leads to miscommunication. Convincing difficult people One of the greatest challenges for any person is to handle resistant and difficult people with grace and professionalism. There are some common mistakes professionals make when dealing with difficult people, and a few simple actions can ease the situation. It is important to identify what type of person you're working with and the rationale behind their actions. Understand that you might need to communicate differently with various types of people. The quiet person for example, might need some advance warning about meeting and some prompting in order to share ideas. The complainer wants some assurance that his or her voice will be heard and some action would be taken in response.

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 Keep calm and avoid arguing – Never argue. Even if there is no truth in the objections. Try explaining the same point again without losing your cool.

 Acknowledge the other person's objection – Don’t counter the objections being made, instead try to understand the opposite persons’ point of view. If you still need to do so, then use a cushion; example “I appreciate your concern…”

 Paraphrase and ask questions for better understanding - Paraphrasing means to repeat what someone has said in your own words. You could do this for the emotions involved in the communication process too. This encourages the opposite person as he feels you are paying attention to what he has to say.  Stay in the adult mode - There are three modes of communication: Child, parent and adult. As per the situation one changes their roles. While dealing with difficult people, it’s important to stay in the adult mode. Don’t act like a parent, be judgmental, behave as a child or be defensive. Assume responsibility. Understand that it is fine, to agree to disagree.  Communicate and explore alternatives - Never assume you can’t help someone. Think about alternatives and offer suggestions about what you can do, to keep the conversation on a positive plane. You could also directly ask them what they would like you to do. You may be surprised to find that they expect much little than what you thought.

 Find agreement – Try to find an agreement or at least acknowledge that you appreciate the person’s perspective. Worst case scenario, agree to disagree.

 Keep the lines of communication open - Remember that 70 to 90 % of the message is screened by the receiver. Engage the person with whom you are communicating. Ask questions like, “Have you understood my point?”, “Do you have any doubts/suggestions?”

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Active listening Most people have this misconception that communication means only the verbal and non-verbal aspect are involved. However, it is listening skills that form a very important part of the effective communication process. All good communicators are effectively good listeners.

Many misunderstand hearing, to be listening. This is not the case. Hearing is passive while listening is active. When you listen it implies that you are completely involved.

How does one become a good listener?  Pay attention  Make them aware that you are listening (eye contact, nodding, etc.)  Don’t judge the speaker  Respond, don’t react  Give feedback

PRESENTATION SKILLS Oral communication is nothing like written communication. Listeners get one chance to hear you talk and can’t refer back when they get confused. In many situations, would have heard many speakers on the same day. There are two well known ways to communicate your points effectively. First, focus on getting only few key points across. Second, repeat key insights. Tell them what you’re going to talk about (brief), and tell them what you told them (summarize). Leave your audience with a clear picture of the gist of your contribution. Use your presentation as an aid not as a crutch.

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Preparing for the presentation Prepare the structure of your talk carefully and logically. Jot down the objectives and the main points you want to make. Make the list of these two things as your starting point. Write out the presentation in rough. Review the draft. Remove the irrelevant details. Check if the content is consistent and flow is smooth. If there are points you cannot easily express, possibly because of doubt about your understanding, it is better to leave them.

Never read from a script. You can prepare cue cards, which have key words and phrases on them. Go over your presentation. Practise!

Making the presentation Greet the audience and tell them who you are. Good presentations then follow this formula:  Tell them what you are going to tell them  Tell them what you have told them

Delivery  Speak clearly, don't shout or whisper

 Don't rush, or talk deliberately slowly, be natural although not conversational  Deliberately pause at key points, this has the effect of emphasising the importance of a particular point you are making  To make the presentation interesting, change your delivery, but not too obviously  Use your hands to emphasise points, but don't indulge in too much gesticulation  Look at the audience as much as possible, but don't fix on one individual, it can be intimidating  Pitch your presentation towards the back of the audience, especially in larger rooms  Don't face the display screen behind you, and talk to it

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Managing stress during presentations  Understand your audience – Always understand the people you are going to address or present. Try to find out their background, their level of knowledge about the topic you are going to present on, etc.

 Revise your content – Revising helps you to know what comes where, so confusion is eliminated during the time of actual delivery.

 Structure your content – Structuring maintains a good, coherent flow during the presentation.

 Humor helps – Adding humor to your presentations helps in reducing the stress as the audience becomes more receptive.

 Practise – Before the actual presentation take the time to practise.

 Calm yourself before delivery – Calming oneself is very important before the delivery. Take deep breaths, have some water and ask yourself to calm down.

Technical tools for presentation Visual aids

Visual aids considerably improve the attractiveness of a presentation. However, they must be relevant to what you say. A careless design or use of a particular slide can simply mar the presentation. Layout  Maximum of 20 slides for a 1 hour presentation  Characters (text) large at least 18 pt size, 24 pt size ideal  Choice of Font - Should be legible – Ideally Arial, Calibri, Trebuchet MS  Number of lines per slide should be 5 – 8

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 Slide layout should be same for the entire presentation  Less of text and more of visuals  Avoid tables with too many rows and columns  Minimal use of animation

Presentation skills practise tips  Posture – Practise standing in the correct posture. A good posture ensures enthusiasm amongst the listeners too.

 Movement - Practise movement. Stand in the same place for too long could get boring for the audience.

 Gestures - Start practising the use of gestures for description and/or emphasis by first becoming more aware of your own natural gestures. Become aware of what you do with your arms and hands in every day conversations, you will then be able to transfer these gestures into all speaking situations.  Facial animation - Appropriate facial expressions usually coincide with gestures. Practise making a variety of facial gestures while speaking in a mirror. Smile, it matters a lot.

 Eye contact – Maintain an appropriate eye contact with the audience. Hold the contact for a second or two; but don’t stare.

Interpretations of body language

Actions

Interpretations

Brisk, erect walk

Confidence

Standing with hands on hips

Readiness, aggression

Sitting with legs crossed, foot kicking

Boredom

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slightly

Sitting legs apart

Open, relaxed

Arms crossed on chest

Defensiveness

Hand to cheek

Evaluation, thinking

Pulling or tugging at ear

Indecision

Biting nails

Insecurity, nervousness

Looking down, face turned away

Disbelief

Stroking chin

Trying to make a decision

Tilted head

Interest

Patting/Fondling hair

Lack of self confidence, insecurity

Tapping/Drumming fingers

Impatience

Touching, slightly rubbing nose

Rejection, doubt, lying

Rubbing the eye

Doubt, disbelief

Locked ankles

Apprehension

Head resting in hand, eyes downcast

Boredom

Open palm

Sincerity, openness, innocence

Pinching bridge of nose, eyes closed

Negative evaluation

Once you understand and learn the art of presenting, no presentation would pose a problem for you. Effective presentations help take you a long way in the organization. INFLUENCING SKILLS The essence of influencing is to make people say ‘yes’ and also get work done from them. When influencing, it is important to focus on other’s needs instead of focusing

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on one’s own needs. Influencing is not about forcing or pushing things forward, it is about tactfully and intelligently handling things in a manner that can help accomplish the purpose behind it. The critical skills important for influencing are trust, presence, credibility, avoiding loss, building commitment and storytelling.

Influencing model

Assume all potential allies

Clarify your goals and priorities

Diagnose the world of other person

Identify relevant current state

Dealing with relationships

Influence through give and take

This model believes that authority is not the only answer if you want the work done from others. It basically shows how to influence people without the use of authority.  Assume all potential allies: There are all sorts of people that you have to deal with in your life. Some being supportive and open to thoughts and some being difficult to deal with. However, you don’t have to write - off anyone. Each person in every situation should be seen as a potential ally.

 Clarify your goals and priorities: This step helps to identify why to influence a person and what is the ultimate purpose or goal for the same. Focusing on work

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goals helps in effective influencing the other person. Personal motivators should be kept aside as they might create hindrance in effective influencing.

 Diagnose the world of the other person: This step helps in understanding the person’s position, authority, judgements, etc. These factors help to know what expectations to build in result of influencing that person. This step is challenging as you have to analyze and understand what influences or drives that person’s behaviour.  Identify relevant current state : In this step, you need to identify what matters to your potential ally. It is important to know, what the other person values the most. Does he/she value task, position or relationship? This is important because when your influencing that person aligns with what they value; win - win situation ought to come. Your talk should be directed in a manner that the other person can see his/her benefit.  Dealing with relationships: In this step, you need to analyze what relationship exists between your potential ally and you. If the relationship is strong, you can directly put your needs in front of that person. But if that person is a stranger to you or not in good terms, you need to build a relationship of trust to influence him/her. Listening techniques also play a crucial role in this step. It is important to listen and understand the need of the other person to influence him/her.

 Influence through give and take: It is important to know that you can influence the other person only when you put forth a win - win proposal. It is important to build trust, show respect and understanding towards other person.

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Communicating for influence Effective communication requires knowing yourself, your target people, selecting correct information, approach and planning the delivery of the message. Here are few techniques that would help you in influencing others through proper and effective communication.

 Show an interest – When we communicate we have to take genuine interest in the opposite person. Faking interest would not take you far. The other person cannot be fooled as he/she picks up your non - verbal cues.

 Talk positive – An effective communicator avoids negativity in his conversation. People are more receptive when the conversation or communication starts on a positive note.

 Be friendly - It involves showing an interest and being a good listener. Understand what your recipient likes or what interests him; make this the part of your conversation. There can be someone who is extremely interesting, friendly and desirable, but if person is unable to communicate that, then they aren’t going to influence people.  Disagreeing without being unpleasant - People may agree all the time and some people are vocal in their disagreements. This is when your communication skills are put to the test. You may disagree with people but how you communicate this disagreement makes all the difference. Instead of starting on a negative note and saying “No”, start of by saying “I agree with you and I also think…”

 Not insulting – It is important to remember the rule compliment in public but criticize in private. A good communicator can say whatever he wants to by using the right language, right tone and at the right time.

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 Correcting in the correct way - Influencing people is correcting them in the right way by pointing out their positive qualities, mentioning their areas of improvement and guiding them to overcome these.

CONCLUSION

Studying this manual helps you understand the various aspects of communication skills, presentations skills and influencing skills. Through this, you would have understood your style of communication and how you need to become more assertive. It gives you tips to

develop and deliver effective presentations.

These skills help take you a long way in the organization. Getting your point across in the most effective way is what is needed and appreciated.

References: www.wikihow.com , www.expressyourselftosuccess.com , www.mindtools.com , en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurolinguistic_programming

All copyrights & trademarks are duly acknowledged

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