On my journey launching my own business since beginning of the year, I have to admit there are quite a few learning curves I have been going through.
Some of those learning teach me on a pure professional level and others, which also touch me on a personal basis. I am going to share with you today something which I should probably have written on my personal development plan earlier, but I have added it now.
What is it?
I am talking about being a great communicator.
Being a great communicator will help you (among many other things):
- To improve your relationships,
- To be understood,
- To be more confident &
- To have your voice heard.
One way to boost your learning curve in communication is to do interviews or being interviewed.
Now you might think, this is not relevant to you and it is too difficult to have someone to interview, but it does not have to be.
I will show you how I did it and what I am learning on the way.
So, my personal goal in this context is to do short interviews with subject matter experts on different topics for one of my recruiting projects in Germany.
In order to achieve this, I decided upon three main actions:
- Find people to interview.
- Prepare yourself to do good interviews.
- Do the interview (& record it).
How did I go about each one of them?
Here comes a quick run down:
- Find people to interview: I googled the latest HR events around recruiting in 2013 and 2012 and looked at the programs of the different events. I did I short background search on those speakers whom interested me and then wrote a short email to ask them whether they would be interested in a short(!) interview of 10-20 minutes on Topic X. (You’d be surprised about how many people say “Yes”, without charging anything for it)
- Prepare yourself to do good interviews: Unfortunately, the last communication course I have attended was back in 2009, so, I don’t know about you but I do not remember a lot of such a training years after. Fortunately, I did recall all those podcasts I had listened to over the last months, so in order to prepare well, I went through some of them and paid particular attention to how the questions were phrased, as this was my particular interest here.
- Do the interview: This week, I have done two interviews (all of them longer than expected), and both of them were not perfect, but I know as well that I am my biggest critic. Bottom line, once you fix a date with your counterpart, you can do the interview on Skype with the call recorder, for example.
So, here are the lessons learned from the path of becoming a great communicator. There are not necessarily new, but certainly worthwhile to be reminded of:
- Record your voice, this has several advantages. First point, you’ll hear what your voice actually sounds like. Secondly, you can analyze how many ‘ehm’ you actually say. Remember, being aware of something is the first step of changing. Finally, you can go through the conversation several times.
- Do a good introduction: tell your story to the counterpart.
- Be upfront about what is in it for them. Why should they talk to you?
- Prepare the conversation well, especially if it is with a stranger from whom you would like to have some key information.
- Do not look at your notes all the time during the conversation; this will distract the natural flow of the conversation.
- Actually listen to what the other person has to say and build upon that, you will be the important parts in your head, trust me!
- Be ready to be nervous, simply because you will be. If you are not, you are either already a pro or you are not taking this seriously.
- It takes time to learn and improve.
- We always learn, if we are ready for it! So, I realized again that learning always takes place when you are ready for it. Don’t think of failures, think of learning.
Now, to you! Are improving your communication skills also part of your personal development plan? What are your experiences? Share with us in the comments!