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The Key To Being a Great Communicator

Mar 20, 2019 | Kayo Women, Professional Advice

Define “Basically”.  “Basically” means nothing, basically.  It’s one of the Weak Words we use to fill spaces.  

Um…

So..

Just

Well… the list goes one.  

These are examples of weak words we use to fill spaces.  I never realized how often I used them, and that there was a powerful alternative – a silent pause. This is one of many things I learned from Amy Wong, an expert in communication who facilitated our first annual Women’s Executive Leadership Retreat in February in Austin, Texas. 

This gathering of 45 women in finance and business came together with the shared goal to become better communicators.  How can we increase our credibility? How can we say more with fewer words? How do we make sure our audience is hearing our message? How do we navigate high stakes conversations?

Over the course of three days, Amy Wong, Facilitator from communication experts Own the Room introduced us to skills we could practice in order to become more effective communicators.  Through interactive workshops which involved all kinds of shenanigans, from videotaping ourselves to drinking games (with water-downed coca cola, not booze, sadly) to using our body to tell stories.

When we weren’t in session learning about communication, we spent time relaxing at the Miraval bonding with other women leaders and reflecting on the lessons we learned.

Over the course of three days, our group felt a strong sense of camaraderie and community. We had exposed our insecurities and fears, yet somehow remained incredibly authentic.  We committed to one another to take the lessons we learned back to our teams and our communities and not let what we learned slip away when we returned to our hectic lives.

This first-time event was a risky experiment in many ways, but it worked. This retreat will go on to become a pillar of the Kayo Conference Series.

In many ways, it changed the way I think about how to measure success at our conferences.  It’s not just about putting women up on the podium, but also making sure they are heard  – helping them tell their story in a clear, concise and engaging way so that their message gets through their audience’s filters.

Pop quiz:  Which of the following do you need more of to become an influential communicator?

  1. Talent
  2. Charm
  3. Charisma
  4. Intellect
  5. Skills  

The answer: Skills

We are not constrained by talent, intellect, charm or charisma when it comes to communication. Each of us can acquire and build the skills necessary to communicate. That gives me great hope for me and all  the aspiring women leaders out there that we can become great communicators and share our message.

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