Here we are in a new year and a new decade. Consider the enormous changes we’ve experienced in the past 10 years. VCRs, fax machines, turntables, hard-wired phones, Sony walkmen, and clunky pagers are some of the communication vehicles and toys that have morphed into something else, or simply become obsolete.
How has your communication changed these past 10 years? What will the next 10 years look like?
Let’s start slowly, with 10 ways to transform your communication right now:
1. Simplify. Texting or 140 characters are great reminders that we need simplicity in communication is beneficial to all. It helps the speaker/writer distill key information for the recipient.
2. Think headlines. Without being a total dork, communicate in eight words that are relevant, punchy, and captivating.
3. Write for the reader. Have you noticed we exist in a turbulent world? Deliver your message with care and a willingness to help others. Your words can have a powerful impact on others. How cool is that?
4. Consider the platforms. Writing blog posts may be passé in a few years. There are new vehicles and mediums for the everyday Joe to reach millions of people. Discover what is available to you and what best fits your business, skills, and needs.
5. Remove the earbuds. If you truly want to alter your communication, get out of your own head. Listen to the sounds of the world around you, as annoying as they may be at times. Even if you don’t open your mouth, your nonverbal communication will be shouting.
6. Get in front of the camera. Video is hot this year, and isn’t going away anytime soon. Forget camera-shy or a bad hair day. Learn how to be comfortable in front of a basic flip-cam. It’s a huge opportunity for engagement. It’s no longer a medium that’s exclusive to Katie Couric or Anderson Cooper. We all have access to the same tools. These tools have power.
7. Tell the story. Develop your critical thinking skills by refining your written and verbal communication. Understand the importance of connecting to other human beings through the fine art of storytelling.
8. Use metaphors. Metaphors are extremely influential in business, sales, and leadership. They offer a simple analogy and image to others that they can immediately relate to. They evoke emotion. When used correctly, metaphors build consensus and bridge communication gaps.
9. List things. When writing, use bullet points; when speaking, go for numbers. This separates ideas and helps people to quickly “get it.” When talking to someone, try phrases such as, “There are three reasons we should amend the budget…” This mentally prepares listeners for what’s to come. It will also help you relate only concise and key information. “First, we need another public hearing on the budget. Second, the current proposal will force us to break a promise and raise taxes. Finally, we should rethink our emergency spending allocation.” Bang, bang, bang.
10. Consume carefully. Be selective with how you consume news and information. How do you share and communicate with people, both online and IRL? Mix it up a bit. Ipads, Kindles, Facebook, text messages, YouTube, and tweets shouldn’t be your only forms of communication and learning. The human factor can not be ignored. Oh, Skype doesn’t really count.
What would you add to this list?
P.S. I’m getting rave reviews from people who have signed up for my free, 21-day video series, “Speaking of Communication.” I invite you to access the series here. Become an ace communicator!