In public relations, it’s expected that we are capable and clear communicators. Effective communication allows us to help our clients understand our message and plans. It creates a relationship with a deeper connection that opens more collaborative possibilities.
Often it’s easy to forget how to impress a client with face-to-face communication. Instead, we hide behind our computers and cellphones, favouring quick texts or emails over less convenient, traditional meetings. We, the public relations practitioners, known as social butterflies, become social snails and don’t remember the advantages of meeting in person. So how do we communicate effectively? To avoid those awkward moments of silence and impress our client we must dust off our shoes and get talking
There are many ways that allow us to communicate effectively with our clients. These include:
1) Organize your ideas in advance. There is nothing worse than attending a meeting and having the conversation run dry. Knowing what you’re planning to speak about will help with the flow of the conversation. Organizing allows you to know your main topics and key points of discussion. It also gives you a place to turn to in case you lose you train of thought.
2) The right time and the right place. Choosing the right place can be key. Choose an area where you are able to openly communicate without too much interference. Privacy may be important when discussing personal ideas or opinions, so you and your client will not feel uncomfortable. The right time is also important. Meeting while stressed, busy or on the go can make the meeting feel like a last priority. A focused and engaged meeting will yield the best results.
3) Use your body. Body language is an essential part in creating effective communication. Body language shows your interest on a subject and help you elaborate on a point using hand gestures to show emphasis or enthusiasm. Eye contact is important because it connects you with your client and makes you seem confident. Body language makes the conversation feel more natural and creates a relaxed atmosphere.
4) Be focused, clear and confident. Failing to appear confident and clear in your communication may make the client be weary of what you’re discussing. When you aren’t confident in what you’re saying, it’s noticeable and the listener won’t be convinced either. You also must focus on what you’re sharing with your client. Tangents are easy to go off on and can waste a lot of time. Know your topic and main points and you won’t stray. However, don’t forget to ask questions too. Finally, be clear and articulate. When you mumble or stumble over your own words, you lose credibility. Practicing out loud with a clear, concise voice can be a great thing in preparing for a meeting, presentation or speech.
5) Intrigue. Try stepping outside of the box and take a new approach. Though this may be out of your comfort zone, it definitely will be memorable; It keeps the listener tuned in. When you’re passionate about a topic, it becomes infectious.
When you implement these five steps into action you’re bound to communicate effectively. Your client will appreciate the meeting and respect you more for your efforts.