8 Tips to Being an Engaging Communicator

While being an engaging communicator can help you navigate social gatherings, it is also an essential and valuable skill for a leader to have. Leaders must deliver a message clearly and succinctly to their team to create shared understanding. 

To ensure that the message stands out from the crowd, leaders need to employ engaging communication techniques so the message is understood and remembered.

Check Yourself

Are you interested in knowing if you are an engaging communicator or sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher to those you lead? Ask others or look introspectively as to which group describes you more.

Group 1

  • When speaking, the message is unclear – people need to ask for clarification multiple times.
  • Provides information using a monotone voice and believes any type of visual device or aid is useless and doesn’t promote understanding.
  • Uses a condescending tone of voice.
  • Mismatches the message and the communication medium – think of those people who end a long-term relationship via text.
  • Takes a long time to express central ideas.

Group 2

  • States goals to energize others.
  • Makes eye contact when speaking.
  • Speaks enthusiastically; maintains listeners’ interest.
  • Uses appropriate gestures.
  • Selects the appropriate communication medium to deliver the message.
  • Recognizes and addresses misunderstandings.
  • Seeks feedback about how communications worked.
  • Determines, recognizes, and resolves misunderstandings.

If Group 2 describes you more than Group 1, congratulations you are on your way to being a wonderfully engaging communicator and should expect that once word gets out your inbox will be overflowing with e-vites.

If you are in Group 1, don’t despair, there’s help to make you better and to become that sought after guest. Truth is, most of us don’t fall completely into one category or the other, so we can all take some of the upcoming ideas to be just a little better at communicating.

Potential Root Causes

Some of the underlying reasons why a leader fails to grasp and hold their team’s attention are:

  • Did not consider the audience well enough; uses words and delivery approach that do not connect.
  • Is not able to communicate the main message succinctly and clearly.
  • May be uncomfortable presenting information to others.
  • Matches a message with an inappropriate communication medium (such as delivering constructive criticism via email rather than face-to-face).
What can you do to become a more engaging communicator?

Here are 8 simple, things that you can do to become more engaging:

1. Communicate thoughts and ideas in a simple way that all staff understands using a logical and sequential progression. Provide supporting details to strengthen your central idea.

2. Create buzz around new tasks that the team is undertaking. Have informal conversations with team members about the benefits of the new task. Convey enthusiasm both verbally (using active versus passive words) and non-verbally (with posture, tone, or gestures).

3. Match tone of voice with the information you are delivering. For example, if the group will undergo a major change, use a direct, clear, and reassuring tone. If the group is embarking on a new and innovative task, use a tone that builds excitement and enthusiasm.

4. Employ a variety of techniques to ensure that the audience is engaged in the presented information, such as stories, anecdotes, and examples.

5. Use technology and visual aids, when appropriate, to support the message. Make sure that these tools have a clear and direct relationship to the presented information.

6. Ask team members to give you specific feedback on your ability to deliver information in an engaging and easily comprehensible manner. Ask how to improve.

7. During a presentation or meeting, ask direct and specific questions about the information you are communicating.

8. Finally, talk to team members about misunderstandings when they arise. Analyze the reasons why a misunderstanding may have occurred.

Like any new habit, these things will take time…be patient, choose one or two to work on so you don’t become overwhelmed. Try them out at lunch with your friends or with your kids at home.  You may really energize the lunch crowd or your family and become a better leader in the process.

Joe Carmen is the Director of Client Relations for Leadership Development at Quinnipiac Corporate Training.

He draws from three decades of practical, real-world leadership experience at West Point and in the US Army, as well as various engineering, operations, sales and leadership roles within Fortune 50 corporations and national award-winning schools.

In these various roles, he has developed unique processes for helping organizations succeed by turning management and leadership ideas into action.