written by Hilary Smith
Good communication skills can be difficult to master, but often they are more challenging for women in the male-dominated business world. Some women fear that they will appear too intimidating or, even worse, be perceived as weak. More and more powerful women are climbing the ladder of success leading their own profitable ventures.
In our age of information and technology, it is important for rising female business stars to be more effective communicators. This can be a bigger challenge for women. In fact, some women might even be too hesitant to ask for a well-deserved raise.
When Emily Amanatullah was a graduate student studying management, she couldn’t help but notice that women had a tougher time negotiating over their male counterparts. She devised an experiment where she had both men and women negotiate a starting salary for themselves and then on behalf of someone else.
When speaking for themselves, women asked for an average of $7,000 less than men. But when negotiating on behalf of someone else, they asked for just as much money as the men. Amanatullah blamed women for trying to manage their image and reputation rather than gain a fair salary through effective communication and negotiation.
So how can women be better communicators and become more successful? Here are five skills to entrepreneurial success through better communication:
1. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT – This can be something as simple as saying good morning to an associate or having an engaging conversation about a new project. This makes the listener feel important, that they are being recognized and that their presence matters.
2. CONTACT – Maintain eye contact with your audience at all times and keep them engaged in your delivery. You will connect better with them and your voice will have a greater impact on your listeners when it appears as though you are speaking directly to them.
3. CLEAR & CONCISE – Make your points clearly and accurately. People are more likely to listen when your aren’t going into some lengthy history or boring them with unwanted stories. You don’t need to explain all of your reasoning when it makes sense and is easily understood.
4. CONNECT – Be personable, smile while you are making eye contact with them, say please and thank you. Don’t be an ice queen, being courteous and friendly will get a better response from your audience.
5. CONFIRMATION - Ask for questions, opinions and advice. This allows the listener to know you acknowledge them, their presence in the conversation and that they heard and understood everything you had to say. It also reinforces your connection with them.
Staying more personally in touch with your audience can also mean utilizing things like social media to connect even further with people. In today’s internet driven society, communication is often more than simply talking to a room full of people.
Being an effective communicator is the stepping stone to being a successful entrepreneur. There is more to being a good leader than getting people to follow you. They will truly want to get behind you when they feel a connection, they are understood and appreciated.