Effective communication is key to any type of relationship whether it is a love relationship, friendship or a business relationship we are talking about. Knowing how to get your point across the room and being able to listen to those of others are crucial to succeeding in life and at work.
While it might sound obvious, it is not as easy as it might seem.
Some people have an inborn ability to effectively communicate with everyone and get their ideas heard without even the slightest problem. But for most people communication is associated with a lot of stress, anxiety and wasted efforts: they might be spending a lot of time talking to different people every day but they fail to become good communicators.
So what’s the secret of effective communication?
Effective communication means not only being a good listener but also being mindful of one’s words and tone, and not taking someone else’s tone personally. Although there are many articles online covering the how-to’s of being a good listener, paying attention to body language, and asking questions as ways of becoming a better communicator, there is one valuable productivity tool they all commonly overlook — personal strengths.
In order to fill this gap, we came up with 3 main reasons why your personal strengths can become your key to better and more productive communication.
#1. Your strengths give you confidence
Research has shown that when people know what they are good at and start to use those character traits in their daily activities, they not only become happier and more productive but also more self-confident and self-possessed.
Having confidence in ourselves is directly reflected on our physical appearance and mental activity because we start to embrace and leverage what makes us stand out from the crowd. So before jumping into your next meeting, preparing for your sales pitch or going to your next networking event, remind yourself of your top strengths and personal skills that motivated you and helped you succeed in life. It will certainly boost your confidence while communicating with others.
#2. Your strengths make you a better listener
When we know our strengths, we also become watchful of other people’s strengths and weaknesses, i.e. we become more empathetic towards other people. If your top strength is a strategist and the other person’s strength is, for example, a brainstormer, you start to pay attention not only to your differences but also to your complementarity.
This mindful approach to strengths helps us adopt active listening by paying attention to what others are saying. Only when we know our strengths and take other people’s strengths into account that we become fully focused on what our conversation partner is saying.
Once we have become more focused we can further improve our active listening through paying attention to our conversation partner’s body language which usually reflects what they actually think regardless of what they say.
#3. Your strengths help you effectively channel the conversation
Great communicators know what they are good at and how they can leverage their strengths during a conversation.
Let’s say your top strength is a thinker, somebody who enjoys a mental activity and intellectual discussions, but prefers to spend time alone thinking. If you are this type of a person, it would be hard for you to communicate with people for whom acting before thinking is a norm. So instead of getting nervous that nobody has done their homework, you would probably start with presenting your thoughts and channeling the conversation in a more productive way because you already know how you function and what works best for you.
By knowing your strengths the communication process becomes more effective because first, you become more confident about yourself, second, you pay more attention to your conversation partner, and third, you know how to manage the conversation flow.
So how can you evaluate your strengths and know your top ones?
There are several ways to find out more about your strengths and be able to leverage them:
- Use a strengths finder online: I was recently recommended a free strengths finder called HIGH5 that helps identify your top 5 strengths and defines each of them by giving hints on how to use those strengths on a daily basis.
- Ask your friends and colleagues: another way of finding out more about your strengths is by asking your close friends and your colleagues about what you are good at. Ask at least 5 people, make a list of top 5 strengths that appear most in their feedback and ask them to elaborate more on those strengths.
- Go see a personal or career coach: if you are having a hard time with identifying your strengths, you can book an appointment with a career coach to help you go through your main strengths and see how you can leverage them in a more productive way.
Knowing your strengths is not enough for having more effective communication. It is essential to know how you can use those strengths while communicating with others.
If you want to know more about how to use your strengths to build your dream career, take a look at this guide to dream-career-building through strengths.
About the author: Anatoli Chernyaev is a content marketing manager born in Armenia and currently residing in France. He writes about various topics such as self-awareness, positive thinking, personal development, and career advice.