Q: How can I improve my communication skills such that I can effectively influence those around me?

Credit Union Young Leader:
Jodi Chambers
Collaboration Leader

Credit Union:
Cornerstone Credit Union

A: First, use active listening which means listen first and then repeat back to the person what you believe they said. If they agree with your statements, then you know you are at a minimum working off the same page and understanding.

Next, really listen; don't interrupt people and focus on what they are saying and how they are saying it. My favourite saying is "shut the duck up" and I have a mini rubber duck on my desk to remind me!!

Third - make sure you ask questions; not just yes or no questions, try to ask probing open ended questions so people can't answer with a yes or no or one-word response. More details and engagement the better. Fourth - It's important to understand the different leadership and communication styles. Some people like lots of detail and need time to really think things over before responding. Others like you to be short and to the point and they may provide you with a response on the spot. Knowing who you are dealing with and then how to communicate is extremely important. Last - be comfortable with silence. We all have opinions and thoughts we want to share; be respectful of others and provide them with the chance to share theirs and they will be significantly more likely to really hear and consider yours.