1. Develop an elevator pitch
A concise description of what your company does and the value it adds. You should be able to explain that in one sentence.
You should use this description across all mediums—not just in the elevator, but also in marketing and online.
2. Know your audience
Research ahead of time the background and needs of your audience. Then, tailor the message and style of your communications. Talking with one or two people is different from addressing 30 or 300. A customer isn’t the same as a supplier.
When addressing a large group, for example, you should focus on common concerns, not the issues of a select group of audience members. Body language should also change. Before a group, you need to be more expressive to hold attention, moving around, using bigger hand gestures and varying your tone. But the same theatrics would be silly and off-putting before just one or two people.
3. Be attentive
Pay attention to your audience’s verbal and nonverbal cues. Have you lost them, or are they still listening and engaged? It’s important to be aware of such signs. If you sense attention is waning, you can ask your audience questions as a way to bring them back into the conversation.
It also helps to be a good listener. Most conversations become easier if you switch to listening. Anybody who spends time talking to you wants to know you are listening.
4. Prepare beforehand
A little preparation can improve communication a lot. Make notes ahead of time about your speaking points. Ask employees or associates to suggest tips for addressing a specific audience.
If you put some effort into preparation, it will always go smoother and you’ll relay information more clearly. If you don’t pre-plan, you may forget things.
“All skills improve with practice, including communication.”