Everyone could use a little help with communications skills from time to time. And since we all have limited time to communicate, we should try to make the best of it. When you talk with people, you define your relationship with them. Choose your words carefully and you will build trust and a positive reputation. Try using these principles to steer conversations.
Respond, don’t react – Weigh your words before you speak. Don’t assume that you know everything about a situation before you respond. Ask questions and listen.
See the influences – Many factors outside the conversation can affect how you and the other person speak. Recognize if, for example, you are ready to snap at someone because you are stressed about another situation. Analyze what may be influencing the other person too.
Create the right first impression – The first words you speak will set the tone for the conversation and how the other person views you.
Seize the opportunity – Choose the response that will leave the other person with the impression that you want to make. Remember also that others may be watching the conversation, or the other party may talk about your conversation with them later. One conversation can influence the way many people see you.
Close the conversation – Always end with a positive comment. Follow up after an important conversation. Check in to clarify any possible misunderstandings, by asking questions or reinforcing your message. Thank the other person with whom you had a positive encounter. Send a note of apology if you didn’t handle the encounter well.
Approach each conversation with the right attitude and it will be easier to choose the best words and convey the right tone.