We see makeovers all the time, and we’re often amazed at the transformation that comes with a new wardrobe and hairdo. Yet there’s one crucial piece missing, says image consultant Janice Hurley-Trailor. How you communicate is essential to creating a professional, dynamic image. “Even the best dressed, best groomed people can compromise their image if they don’t communicate well,” says Hurley-Trailor. In her practice she’s given hundreds of clients a communication makeover.
All of us can benefit from the following tips that Hurley-Trailor offers, when it comes to communicating:
“IN MY OPIN”
Interrupting is one of the most common communication flubs that erodes your image. Let someone else someone finish their sentence and their thoughts before you say anything. Insert a pregnant pause before you answer someone’s question and you’ll effectively communicate that you really listened to what was said and gave ample consideration to your response.
LET THE FOCUS BE ON SOMEONE ELSE.
It’s natural to want to talk about and express yourself, but give others the chance to do that too. When someone tells you about their experience resist responding with a story about yourself. Instead get truly interested and curious about what they are saying and ask questions. This helps to ensure that you will in turn be listened to and it will build goodwill among the people with whom you regularly communicate.
RECOGNIZE THE THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS THAT DRIVE CONVERSATION.
It’s tempting to go with your gut and react on impulse to what someone is saying, especially if you disagree. This can ratchet up the emotion, which can then hinder clear and honest communication. Hurley-Trailor advises that you think first about what thoughts and emotions might lie behind the statements. Taking just a few seconds to do this will allow you to answer calmly and maintain a professional demeanor, she says.