Being able to communicate with confidence is a game changer for any college student. It’s the difference between getting people to believe in you or forget about you.
If your professors are inspired by your passion, they’ll invest in you and your college experience. If employers trust you, they will hire you for that internship. If fellow students believe you, they’ll get behind your organization.
Many students struggle with interpersonal communication skills. In fact, many can be painfully awkward. If this is you, don’t stress. Communicating with confidence is easier than you might think.
Here are three surefire steps you can take to improve your communication skills.
1. Listen Like a Professional
The easiest way to build immediate rapport with someone is by being interested in them. If you want to be the most interesting person in the room, be a great listener.
Try paraphrasing someone’s answers back to them for clarity. Provide guiding statements like, “Tell me more about that.” Listen closely and add value by making an introduction or suggesting a new product, app or article they might like.
2. Say It Before You Run Out of Breath
People are always going to ask you some version of: “What do you want to do?” Have a clean answer ready to go – with one rule: Use one exhale. By the time you run out of breath, you should have completed your answer.
The easiest way to answer this question is by including the position, industry and type of company you’re looking to work with. For example: “I’m looking for an entry level account management position in the advertising industry with a company like Widen+Kennedy.”
If you’re clear and concise, your reward will be hearing, “Tell me more about that.”
3. Do Your Research
Whether you’re meeting someone for coffee or a job interview, learn all you can about them in advance. You can do this by looking at their about.me Backstory, social media accounts or articles that mention their name.
This creates an opportunity to create context, learn about their history and interests, and who knows, you might just have something in common with them.