I’ve been steadily improving my skills in MarTech, but I feel like other important soft skills have been lagging behind.
When it comes to building stronger relationships with my team members, communicating with other departments around the company, or even presenting in front of large groups in meetings, I’m really struggling.
Any advice on how I can communicate and present more effectively?
Alex, I know how you feel, and I’m sure many others out there do too.
Building and developing soft skills for better communication and presenting is no easy feat, especially if you’re a bit more on the introverted side or you’ve struggled with public speaking in the past.
Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to have many conversations and experiences that have helped me forge these skills. Here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way!
Lead with empathy
When I think of soft skills, empathy immediately comes to mind as the number one trait to look at for improving communication.
Practicing empathy in all your interactions will help you develop deeper relationships around the company, as well as encourage and inspire those around you.
This goes for speaking with clients as well. Consciously employing more empathy will help you understand your clients’ needs more clearly. Ultimately allowing you to serve them more effectively.
This is one of my favorite Simon Sinek quotes that embodies this concept: “Empathy is being concerned about the human being, not just their output”.
Find common ground
If empathy is number one on our list of soft skills, then close behind it is the ability to find common ground with others.
Whether you’re speaking with sales, marketing, IT, or anyone else involved in the company, there will always be an opportunity to find some piece of common ground.
It could be anything from sports, pop culture, where they’re from, or what companies they’ve worked for — MOPs can be a small world! This is a great way to bolster your professional relationships and it’s a seamless ice-breaker when speaking with new hires for the first time.
Everyone is rooting for you
When speaking in front of an audience – whether it’s an internal meeting, client presentation, or anything else – it’s natural for most people to have some anxiety or fear of rejection.
To help with this, I defer back to the idea that: it’s in our nature to want others to do well.
We don’t want to see others fail or feel embarrassed. So the next time you find yourself speaking in front of a large group, keep in mind that they’re on your side and want to see you succeed.
It may seem simple, but internalizing this shift in perspective will go a long way in helping you feel more poised during presentations.
Company culture matters
A lot of soft skill development also has to do with the culture of the organization you’re with.
Here at Revenue Pulse, we promote a culture of teamwork and support. Mistakes will happen, and being transparent about your flaws in an authentic way will help build trust and strengthen relationships – both within the company and with clients.
It’s also important to surround yourself with people who will give you honest feedback so you can improve.
Give others permission to tell you if a presentation wasn’t impactful or if a conversation felt off – while we need to take our work seriously, it’s important we don’t take ourselves too seriously as well.
Leave your comfort zone
While all these tips are important, the final ingredient that ties everything together is experience.
I don’t know of any great communicator or presenter who is speaking in front of a group for the first time.
Put yourself in front of audiences as much as possible and have conversations often. Getting the reps in will help you build confidence, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a better communicator.
You’ve got this,