Be friendly and connect
You’ll be a lot easier to talk to if you seem approachable. Try some small talk to make the situation comfortable before the real conversation begins. If people feel a connection when they talk to you, they’re more likely to be open and honest with you.
Listen. Listen. Listen.
If you want to be a great communicator, you have to first realize that communication is a two-way street. Nobody likes talking to someone who never stops to listen. Don’t be that person. Stop and listen without interruption. Look at more than words. Pay attention to the body language of the person you’re speaking to and make sure your own body language shows that you’re focused and attentive. Don’t be afraid to ask a ton of questions if it’ll help you fully understand someone’s point of view.
Be short and to the point
Convey your message with as few words as possible. More is less. Be direct and don’t “beat around the bush”. Always think about what you want to say before it’s time to say it. The best way to accomplish this feat is to know what you’re talking about. Study up and don’t say anything that isn’t complete necessary to conveying your point.
Be empathetic and open-minded
Again, remember that communication is about more than what you think and what you want to say. It’s okay if you don’t agree with the person you’re talking to, but make sure they know that you understand where they’re coming from. Take a minute to pause and think about the points they make. It’s okay to have a lull in the conversation. This will show them that you’re truly listening and care about their opinion, even if you don’t agree with them.
Don’t talk like you’re some kind of corporate robot. Speak in a conversational tone. Use stories in your examples. Be real and let your audience connect with you on a personal level. If you speak from the heart, you will come across as authentic and trustworthy.