The Best Investment You Can Make

Take a Chance and Change 3 Communication Skills

Here’s part of Warren Buffet’s answer to Michael Hood’s question. He asked: “What is one tip you’d give 21-year-olds just graduating from school?”

“Invest in yourself. The one easy way to become worth 50 percent more than you are now at least is to hone your communication skills–both written and verbal.”  Here is Warren Buffet’s whole answer.

This is not just good advice for younger people! Everyone can benefit from better communication skills. Here are my 3 Communication Best Practice 2019 changes for you. You can use these skills every day, whether making a formal presentation at a meeting, or even informally, outside of a work-related environment.

  1. Get to the point—and end there. (Content Change)
    I never send out any communication without trying to make it more concise and better organized.
    CHANGE: Try to cut every email you send by 1/3. Plan to speak 5-10 minutes less for every presentation you plan. Cut words and images from every visual you create (PowerPoint, Viseo, Prezi, executive summary, storyboard).
  2. Organize your messages and state them clearly. (Content Change)
    I set a context and name the topic area (headline) before I get into the details.
    CHANGE: Use headlines as you speak. Help your listener follow you. Take a chance and use these types of phrases: “Here’s the problem…” “The least costly solution is…” “There are 3 options to consider…” “Let me start with the 3 key messages I want you to remember…” In emails, consider putting your categories in bold letters such as Issue, Problems, Best Solution, Next Steps.
  3. Create a positive atmosphere with your voice tone, eye contact and focused words. (Engagement Skills)
    I find ways to be positive in my interactions with others, adding a positive feeling into the conversation. I project the energy I would like from others.
    CHANGE: Smile when appropriate and speak with enthusiasm. Take a chance and put more excitement, enthusiasm and curiosity into your voice and communications.
    Think about how you feel when someone sounds happy and excited about a topic, especially on the phone. Here’s some interesting research: “The More You Energize Your Coworkers, the Better Everyone Performs.”

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Several Key Takeaways From This Research

  1. The good news is that you can do something! Focus on relational energy—the energy we get and give in our daily interactions. Every action and word, no matter how small, matters in boosting productivity and performance.
  2. In your written communications, write positive comments and words that make the reader smile.
  3. Sound excited and interested when you speak to someone. When my husband was in the middle of a long 6-month crisis at work, he always sounded upbeat and happy to hear from me when I called him.

You have an opportunity to make these changes. Just try them for one week and notice the difference. 

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