What separates an amazing communicator from everyone else? What makes an entertainer funny, a writer intriguing and a politician inspiring? On the surface, entertainers, writers and politicians may not look like they have a lot in common, however, they do share one common attribute: heightened awareness of their target audience.
To connect with your audience, you must first understand your audience.
Whether you’re writing or speaking, being generally aware of your audience will help you connect and captivate, and come up with quick-witted responses. Just observe any stand-up comedy routine or political speech: the best performers understand their audience inside and out, and know exactly which buttons to push.
The Ultimate Awareness-Expanding Routine
Below is a typical routine of what many communications professionals do on a regular basis to expand their awareness and improve their communication skills:
1. Go for a walk
You must understand yourself, your motivations and biases before you can understand other people. Consider writing a diary, meditation, or even going for a 15-minute walk where you can self-reflect uninterrupted.
2. Listen and engage
Don’t just talk at people during your lunch break. Be an active listener and be sure to follow up with questions. This practice will improve your interpersonal skills.
3. Read and watch the news
Our thoughts and emotions are shaped by history, culture and current events. This is why it’s important to regularly check the news to detect changes in popular opinion.
PRO TIP: Make sure to view news from counter-opinion media to broaden your perspective.
4. Read social media comments
Social media and online media comments can sometimes be crude, outlandish and dumb. However, they do offer a treasure trove of insight into what others are thinking. Read them!
5. Read company documents and statements
Don’t get caught off guard when someone asks you a question about your employer. Be a more persuasive representative for your employer by staying up to date on your organization’s mission, vision and news.
6. Read blog posts
Don’t forget about technical- and work-related communications. Read a professional blog daily to freshen up your workplace skills and to learn about new professional jargon.
If you follow the above routine, you will be well on your way to becoming a better communicator!