Whenever we express our creativity, sometimes we struggle to get our message heard. This can be very distressing, especially if you have devoted lots of time and resources to a creative project.
We need to learn ways to get our creations in front of the right audience as well as learning to utilize the right communication channels. In this lesson we will examine some great ways to get our voices heard.
Getting yourself Heard
Learn Verbal Assertive Methods – People in general do not like to be assertive for fear of looking arrogant. Unfortunately, this results in their communications going unacknowledged. You need to learn to own your ideas and promote them to people who matter. At the same time, you have to respect the ideas and views of others. And don’t get crushed if your idea gets rejected – it’s not personal, it’s just part of the process.
Use Lots of “I” Statements – In general speech and conversation, people tend to use pronouns such as “we” and “you” (the editorial you) in their sentences when they actually are speaking for themselves. This gives them a cushion of security in case their comments are rejected by their listeners. But it also leaves a gap for others to take credit for their ideas too. Be assertive and start taking ownership for your feelings and ideas, such as “This is how I feel about this” or “I see things this way”.
Learn to Say No – It is very hard for some people to say no. They do not want to disappoint others. But if you are going to be an assertive communicator, then you have to learn how to say no to people. Don’t say no just for the sake of saying it; say it when it is needed.
Learn to Communicate Clearly – Be sure your messages are clear. If you plan to present an idea to someone or a group, then think about what that message will look like. Get that message as clear as you can – especially when communicating with people who do not work in your chosen field.
Practice your Message – If you plan to present ideas to others, it is a great idea to practice a little bit beforehand. And while we are discussing this, you should also craft your elevator message as well.
If you are not familiar with elevator messages, they are the quick response you would give to someone important in an elevator who might ask “What do you do for a living?” You would want make a good impression. And you would want your response to project your strengths, but you only have a few moments to do all that since the elevator door will open any moment.
Learn Body Language – Many people see body language as trivial, but studies have shown over and over that the majority of our communications is done through our body language. Make sure you are not putting people off by negative body language.
Maintain as much Space as You Need – This obviously applies to a group setting. You must realize that there are others who will take your space from you, if you don’t claim it first. More importantly, if you let others take your space, then their voice will have dominance over yours – meaning their ideas will most likely be chosen over yours. This is not a power move, it is being assertive.
Keep your Body Open – Whenever you fold your arms and cross your legs (aside from ladies), you are putting out a signal that you are not open to others. It makes you harder to approach and to communicate with. When you make comments from this posture, you usually get very little response because your signals are mixed and people don’t know how to take you.
Make Proper Eye Contact – Look others in the eyes when you speak with them, but don’t glare. This is a bit of an art, but you can always observe the person in the room that everyone admires and see how he or she does it. They will never steer you wrong.
Imagine what it is Like to Listen to You – If you are serious about knowing how your speaking voice comes across, then you should record yourself in a conversation with others. You need to determine if you are using a dialect or figures of speech that are hard to follow or understand. You also need to know if you talk too fast or too slow. This is an excellent way to clean up the way you speak to others.
Become an Awesome Listener – This has become a lost art in our society. When we have a conversation with others, many of us are thinking of what we want to say next instead of listening to the other person. If we really want to master our communication skills, then we need to learn how to listen.
Put Away your Cellphone – Put your electronic devices away when you are speaking with someone. Show them that you care about what they have to say – it goes a long way in your listening skills.
Ask for Clarification – Whenever they say something that you are not quite following, then ask them to clarify. This is a great way to indicate to them that you are indeed listening.
Practice Active Listening Indicators – This means doing things like saying “uh-huh” or nodding your head whenever they make a point. This is a polite gesture and shows the other person you are tuned in to what they are saying.
Summarize what you Heard – Confirm what you heard by repeating it back to them in a summary. And then give them your response.
Obviously, not each of these suggestions will directly get your voice heard, but they will have a powerful effect indirectly on getting your message heard. This is because together they strengthen your entire communication package – which will get your voice heard loudly in the long run.