Learning the Art of Effective Communication

This incident happened during my initial days in business journalism stint. I was at a product launch event of a prominent mobile brand. Since it was a hyped press event, journalists from across the media publications rushed to the venue. It was my first exposure to a media event, and I was very nervous. I prepared my pointers and rehearsed several times before the event. During the media interaction, I suddenly became anxious. I started feeling weird goose bumps, and my body started shivering. I was not able to take hold of my breath. It was a terrible experience and I wanted to run out of the room. When my turn came, I forgot my questions and started fumbling. People started giggling and staring at me. That made me more anxious. Somehow, I managed the situation, but the embarrassment hit me to the core. It has been over a decade since this incident happened. It impacted me so badly that I became cautious to speak in public forums. I worked on my mental block and eventually overcame the fear of public speaking. Whether it is a Zoom meeting, business presentation or sales pitch, the social anxiety and pressure of facing people can be overwhelming. Many of us avoid tough conversations due to fear of rejection. Sometimes, people avoid raising their voices due to the fear of retaliation or reprimand. The inability to express emotions can be taxing and cause stress. Also, a lack of transparency in communication can lead to misunderstanding and confusion. Communication is a skill one can develop with consistent practice. Here are four ways to build self-esteem and communicate with confidence.

Embrace Rejection 

People avoid leading difficult conversations due to fear of rejection. You cannot expect a favourable response from everyone all the time. Rejection is a part of the communications process. Learn to take No for an answer. Fear of reprimand or punishment are also reasons people avoid raising their voices. It is evident in offices where people face isolation or retaliation for pointing out flaws or expressing critical views about their managers. Such work environments are not conducive to freedom of expression and do not promote a healthy work culture. Set your boundaries and be bold to raise your concerns at appropriate levels.

Be Kind to Yourself 

Pressure can lead to mistakes. It is ok to feel overwhelmed in public forums. Be kind to yourself, and don’t let people’s judgment get into your head. Be open to constructive criticism, but it is wise to ignore hacklers who enjoy belittling others. You don’t have control over the moment, which has already passed. Hence, move on and focus on your next move. Creating a sense of detachment and objective thinking can help lead awkward conversations. Your worth and ability are greater than the opinions of people around you.

Avoid Dwelling in Past 

Our mind remembers bad experiences more vividly than positive happenings. It is common to forget points or fumble during conversations in public forums. I do not believe in the philosophy that the first expression is the last. There is room for improvement at every stage. Be clear about your viewpoint. There is no need to become ultra-conscious about grammatical accuracy and pronunciation. Use your natural accent and stick to your original style rather than pretending to be someone else. Focus on improving your communication skills rather than regretting past blunders as people have short memories.

Constant Improvement 

All prominent public speakers and communicators spend considerable time sharpening their craft. Practice is non-negotiable to become a great communicator/ public speaker. Accept your shortcomings and find solutions to overcome them. Technology has made learning easy, and many online tools are available to improve language, grammar, and pronunciation with self-paced learning. Leverage these tools to work on the areas where you need improvement. Also, reduce your dependency on external validations. Instead, start enjoying the little joys of communication.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Priyanka Pugaokar
Priyanka Pugaokar is a communications professional with expertise in internal and external communication, crisis communications, content generation and media relations. She holds over ten years of combined experience in communications and business journalism. She is currently associated with Rashi Peripherals Limited as Corporate Communications Manager and leads several strategic projects. She is an avid travel explorer. A lifelong learner, she holds interest in yoga, naturopathy, energy healing and crystallography.

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