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Power Up Your Networking Communications! - 
10 tips to help you communicate more powerfully

                         

Networking successfully is more than having a good pitch, knowing how to talk about what you have to offer, and drawing out others in conversation. It is also about having good follow up techniques. At the heart of your follow up techniques is how effectively you communicate your message to your contacts. Here are 10 tips that will help you get your message across more powerfully: 

1. Speak and write with your audience in mind 
Steer away from jargon and acronyms. Address your audience at their level and interests. 

2. Use complete sentences when writing 
E-mail has conditioned us to use sentence fragments. This, however, does not project a powerful, professional image. Use complete sentences and make a conscious effort to use good grammar. Also, stay away from slang words, off color references, and jokes (unless humor is your strong point). 

3. When writing, structure your content to the medium
With time important to your contacts don't make them wade through a lot of words in order to get your message. Make your e-mails brief. Craft a subject sentence that is short and descriptive of your message. You must make it interesting so the reader will want to open your e-mail and not consider it spam. If you have a website be sure your content is broken up into "pages" and create short sections of information on each page. Use bullet points where appropriate. Structure your letters and other written documents so that important information appears in the first few paragraphs. Avoid digressions and the inclusion of useless information.

4. Get to the point
In both writing and speaking, start out with your main point. Let the reader know, quickly, what you are trying to communicate. Use simple, short words. When writing have one point to a paragraph. Don't complicate your writing or speaking with asides that can detract from that main point. 

5. Research your facts 
When providing information, check quotes and statistics for accuracy. Make sure you are not violating copyright laws. Always ask for permission to quote someone or another piece of writing. You don't want to accidentally mislead your contacts or have them questioning your accuracy!

6. Use examples to illustrate and backup your points 
Telling a short success story is a powerful technique. Turn abstractions into concrete examples, which will communicate your message more clearly. 

7. Check spelling and grammar before sending off written communications
From websites to the printed New York Times, spelling errors have run rampant. This projects a negative image and detracts from your message. Take the time to run your word processor's spell and grammar checker...especially for e-mail! You want your reader to focus on what you are saying not on the mistakes you made saying it!

8. Project a positive attitude
Be upbeat even when the world has gotten you down. Slant your small talk and any talk about yourself to be positive. Always ask others positive questions. Smile a lot, even when speaking on the phone.

9. When making telephone calls write out what you plan to cover
Be considerate of your contacts' time constraints. By using a script, you have something in front of you to refer to and you won't ramble on taking up the other person's time. Your "script" can be as simple as a few notes or a more lengthy outline. 

10. Practice your communication skills in other situations
Like any skill the more you use it, the better you become at it. Volunteer to do a speech, presentation, or lead a seminar. Write an article for a newsletter. Not only are you practicing good communication techniques, but you are also promoting yourself! This form of self-promotion can be used as a powerful networking tool. 

Communicating well does take a conscious effort. If you follow the above 10 tips, you will accurately convey your message both in your spoken and written words. Over time, you will discover that you are also expressing yourself more powerfully and your networking communications are getting the results you desire.

                                                                               c 2005 Leona M Seufert