One of the most valuable attributes in networking and business is talking and engaging effectively with other professionals. The skill to speak with people from different backgrounds is more than just an ability to exchange words. Creating meaningful and valuable conversations requires being able to focus on and direct the flow of interaction. With consistent practice and experience, you can improve your ability to have positive and healthy conversations in any setting. Here are a few essential keys shared by Sean Goodnight, an excellent communicator by all standards.

Holding a useful conversation in a professional environment, or any environment is much more than mastery of the language. More than just words are exchanged when we talk to others. Communication happens at many different levels.

The words you use are essential. From the words you choose, others will make assessments regarding the depth of your understanding of the topic. If your language is stuffed full of cliches and buzzwords, the listener may think you have no real knowledge about the subject.

The repetitive use of filler words, such as “like” will expose you as immature and in over your head conversationally. Profanity, even if being used by other participants in the conversation, will often get you pegged as someone that has a hard time expressing themselves.

Body language, how you stand or sit, and eye contact are also vital signs that reveal information about us. Looking at the ground or acting distracted will convey a lack of interest. Holding eye contact is a sign that you are engaged in what you are hearing.

Ensure that you come to the business meeting prepared and have a clear understanding of the results you are trying to achieve. Having an agenda helps facilitate an effective and organized conversation. Send it to all participants to make sure they have time to prepare and discuss important topics.

During the conversation, it is important to check-in with the participants to make sure that they had an opportunity to voice their concerns or ask questions. Embracing silence and giving others space to think and share their opinions is also essential in having a productive conversation.

There has indeed been an enormous amount of research done on how people communicate, and the single most important key to effective communication is to be genuine.

Don’t try and fake it. Don’t try and present yourself as something or someone you’re not. People can sense this and it will diminish their trust in you.

On the other hand, if you care – really care – about the person you are talking to and the topic being discussed, your listener will know that too. They will respect you and enjoy talking with you because you care.

Consider the most engaging conversations you have had, whether they were business-related or personal. You will likely learn that everyone involved in the conversation genuinely cared about the topic and was invested in communicating effectively. Replicate that in business, and people will remember you as a person they like to talk with.

About Sean Goodnight

Sean Goodnight is a proud husband and father and a firm believer in family values. Born and raised in Colorado, he graduated from Englewood High School and went to the University of Northern Colorado. Sean Goodnight’s definition of success includes two aspects – family and professional life. He aims to provide security to his family and the clients that depend on him. He does that by consistently making sound choices and building relationships based on trust, honesty, and respect.